Tonight's rugby news as talent compared to Wales icons and chief expands on Ospreys' stadium plan

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Here are your rugby evening headlines for Monday, May 27.

Dragons full-back compared to Halfpenny and Williams

Dragons full-back Ewan Rosser has been compared to Wales icons Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams by his club coach, Dai Flanagan.

Rosser, normally a wing, has featured in the 15 jersey of late for the Rodney Parade side. Moving forward, it seems it could be the ideal position for the 23-year-old.

And Flanagan believes that the former Wales Sevens star shares the same trait of bravery as Williams and Halfpenny.

“I love how he is a threat but he is also brave, which is what you need in that position in the modern game,” head coach Flanagan told the South Wales Argus.

“The best full-backs that Wales have produced in recent times are Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny; fundamentally at the core of both those players is bravery.

“They will never shirk a tackle and if they miss one then they will probably be getting knocked out or dislocating a shoulder.

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“That’s the game. You might have one critical tackle to make and I would put my house on Ewan to make it.”

He added: “He is dangerous in space and likes working off his wing but if we get him at full-back then he has a fantastic skill set,” said Flanagan.

“There is more than his attacking game, it’s his personality and ability to learn quickly.

“Let’s not forget where Ewan has come from – he had one of the most severe injuries that you can have as a rugby player [a broken ankle].

“He got back in nine months and is playing regional rugby, adapting to a new position. He is loving it because he is touching the ball more, which means he can learn to find more space.

“He was superb in the air against the Ospreys – we won nine out of nine – and Ewan can add to that in our back three."

Ospreys boss expands on new stadium search

Ospreys chief executive Lance Bradley has expanded on the process to choose the Ospreys' new stadium.

Last week, the region confirmed that the choice for a new ground had been narrowed down to two - Swansea's St Helen's and Bridgend's Brewery Field.

Bradley insists that neither option would require public funding, with a loan or investment required.

"They are both interesting sites," Bradley told BBC Radio Wales.

"The Brewery Field has existing facilities which need doing up, while St Helen's has a terrace and a stand but we would need to move the pitch so it was parallel with the terrace, then move the stand and install new ones.

"So you are kind of installing a new stadium. The costs of St Helen's are a bit higher than Bridgend but the non match-day opportunities are probably greater there."

He added: "One of the options we have been looking at is investment. But it's also a function where we can borrow money to put the stadium in and over what period of time we have to pay that back. So we are looking at every option.

"We know we have more fans in Swansea at the moment than we do in Bridgend but what we don't know if we did go to the Brewery Field is whether we would generate new fans in Bridgend," said Bradley.

"The atmosphere for the games against Cardiff and Sale were fantastic. I don't know if that was the case because it was in Bridgend or a smaller stadium.

"I suspect it was because it was in a more compact stadium with a big terrace that fans could feel the emotion of the game. So either option would be good."

England urged to 'make exception' for Champions Cup final hero

Former Ireland international and ex-Dragons coach Bernard Jackman has urged England to 'make an exception' and pick Jack Willis after his Champions Cup final heroics.

The back-row, who was superb in Toulouse's win over Leinster on Saturday, is ineligible for Test selection - having moved to France in 2022 after his former club Wasps went to the wall.

“I have an issue with this because he had to leave England because of a freak incident where a club went out of business. He’s gone there, he’s taken a gamble, he’s found another level,” Jackman told RugbyPass TV.

“Zach Mercer, he goes back (to England) and doesn’t get any benefit from it.

“When Johnny Sexton left Ireland to go to Racing, basically Joe Schmidt said: ‘I need him’, so he picked him. We had a rule like everyone but you have to have a bit of flexibility.

“If Jack Willis can make England better, which to the bystander you would say he’s certainly going to be in the mix, so make an exception for him.”

He added: “That game was higher intensity than some Test matches. If there are any doubts about his form, his ability, I think he just proved that he is at that level.

“Is it coming from the RFU? Is it coming from Steve? Is it just stubbornness to try and stop other people from going?

“If he went chasing money at the start, I could maybe understand it, but because three clubs went out of business, which is very sad, there has to be some kind of omerta for a while to be able to keep England rugby strong and help those guys.

“Imagine being him. He’s playing club rugby in France, which wasn’t his choice initially, and he can’t play for his country; I don’t really agree with that.

“When you look at what the South Africans do, the All Blacks do with sabbaticals etc, they try and do everything in their power to keep players in the game long-term.”

Ulster sign Irish-qualified New Zealander

Irish-qualified fly-half Aidan Morgan will join Ulster from the Hurricanes on a two-year deal ahead of next season.

The 22-year-old is Ulster’s second signing ahead of next year after Werner Kok agreed to a move from the Sharks. Morgan, whose grandfather was born in Belfast, will replace Billy Burns - who is heading to Munster.

He has played 23 games for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby but has only appeared three times this year.