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Dewi Lake knew moving from back row to hooker was going to be a tough nut to crack

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Dewi Lake says he knew it was going to be “a tough nut to crack” after moving from back row to hooker just four years ago.

But Lake, one of the brightest young talents in Welsh rugby, will continue his promising development when he makes his rugby debut in Wales on Saturday.

After winning four caps off the bench, Lake, 22, has a chance to end this year’s Six Nations against Italy by making another impression on Wales boss Wayne Pivac and his coaching staff.

With the World Cup in France just 18 months away, Osprey striker Lake is a rising force, adding considerable competition for Wales’ number two shirt alongside Ryan Elias, Bradley Roberts, Elliot Dee and Ken Owens, who is currently injured.

When former Wales Under-20 captain Lake joined the Ospreys’ academy as a teenager, the back row was his specialty.

“I always spoke to my father about whether there was a possibility in rugby that we would go that route,” said the Bridgend-born Lake.

“From an early age we always thought Nutte would eventually be a result of the harvest of back rowers that Ospreys had at the time and Wales were always strong there.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has given Lake his chance (David Davies/PA)

(PA wire)

“I knew it was going to be a tough nut to crack. I hadn’t grown at this point and was probably around 5ft 6in tall.

“It’s been hard work around set pieces and there’s still struggle there. We work on it every day and the improvements are slowly coming.

“It’s not an overnight job and this work that I do with the coaches is coming. Nice that it fit.

“I like the physical part of the game, so carrying, tackling, getting over the ball, that’s what I enjoy and feel like I’m bringing it.”

Lake saw his progress stalled last year with an ankle injury that meant several months on the sidelines.

But he bounced back in time to be called up for Wales’ Six Nations squad, making his debut in the tournament opener against Ireland before adding three more appearances as a substitute.

“What has helped me the most is possibly the transition, being called into the (Walesian) squad for the first time in 2020, so things weren’t that new this time,” he added.

“It helped me to settle into the team faster and get on my feet. It looks seamless but there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes and I’ve enjoyed my rugby and going out to the park.



It was a big step up (in 2020) to get out of the under-20s where you’re a big fish in a small pond

Wales hooker Dewi Lake

“It was a big step up (in 2020) to get out of the under-20s where you’re a big fish in a small pond, I think, to step into that environment where you’re a very small fish are.

“But the reception you get from the group of guys just puts you at ease. I think when I came to the camp this time I felt that there was no need to be too nervous.

“In terms of development for me as a player, just being able to work here under the coaches and with players like Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones – training with that caliber of players brings out a better player out of you. “

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/wales-six-nations-wayne-pivac-dan-biggar-alun-wyn-jones-b2039390.html Dewi Lake knew moving from back row to hooker was going to be a tough nut to crack

Andrew Schnitker

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