Kohn savours 'surreal' Wales call-up

Sat, 26 Jan 2013 10:09
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Uncapped Harlequins lock Olly Kohn said it felt "surreal" to have been added to Wales's squad.

Uncapped Harlequins lock Olly Kohn said it felt "surreal" to have been added to Wales's squad for this season's Six Nations following his shock call-up on Friday.

Defending Grand Slam champions Wales have been depleted by a series of second row injuries with Alun-Wyn Jones (shoulder), Luke Charteris (knee) and Bradley Davies (ankle) all currently unavailable while Ian Evans is doubtful for the tournament opener at home to Ireland a week on Saturday because of a knee problem.

That has led interim head coach Rob Howley, guiding Wales while Warren Gatland takes charge of the British and Irish Lions ahead of this year's tour of Australia, to turn to Kohn.

Although born in Bristol, south-west England, the 31-year-old Kohn qualified for his adopted country thanks to a late grandfather from the Rhymney Valley in south Wales.

Kohn has made over a hundred appearances for current English Premiership champions Quins since arriving from Bristol in 2006.

He is now the third uncapped lock in Wales's Six Nations squad, joining Ospreys forward James King and Newport Gwent Dragons second row forward Andrew Coombs.

Kohn's inclusion took the overall tally of newcomers to six with dashing wing Eli Walker and Cardiff Blues back-rows Josh Navidi and Andries Pretorius already selected by Wales.

"Receiving the call-up was surreal, and I can't wait to join up with the squad this weekend," Kohn said. "It is a really proud moment for me and a great opportunity to show what I can do.

"It will be good to meet the squad, get training and hopefully be part of a successful Six Nations campaign with Wales."

Howley insisted Kohn was no panic pick, saying: "We looked at Olly when we initially selected the Six Nations squad, and we have brought him in now as we believe he will be an experienced addition.

"He has been performing very well for Quins and has been a feature in their pack. He is a strong ball-carrier and dominant at the set-piece, and it will be good to see him in the international environment."

Howley is due to announce his team to play Ireland on Thursday.

AFP

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