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The evening rugby headlines as legend John Devereux outlines the World Cup clanger made by Warren Gatland

Wales Online logo Wales Online 12/12/2019 Paul Abbandonato
a group of men playing a game of football: Hadleigh Parkes was strapped up against the Springboks, but Devereux feels Owen Watkin should have played © Gareth Everett/Huw Evans Agency Hadleigh Parkes was strapped up against the Springboks, but Devereux feels Owen Watkin should have played

Here are your rugby evening headlines from Thursday December 12.

Devereux's Wales centre worries

Rugby legend John Devereux has outlined his concerns at centre for Wales, the position where he once shone so brightly for his country.

The ex-Wales and Lions star feels Warren Gatland may have missed a trick by not choosing Owen Watkin over Hadleigh Parkes in the World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

With Jonathan Davies and Willis Halaholo out injured, and Parkes pushing 33, Devereux feels it is a position Wayne Pivac has to address for the Six Nations and beyond.

He told Rugby Pass : "For me, Watkin should have played in front of Parkes in that semi-final. The management possibly dropped a clanger in not picking him.

"They need to stick with him because, being honest, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot beneath him. The age profile they have there isn’t quite right at the moment.

“The two first-choice centres are getting on. At the World Cup, Davies was carrying an injury and faces time out, while Parkes was battered and bruised and virtually held together with sticky tape.

"We need to see what is around.”

Devereux said Scott Williams "hasn’t really kicked on as some hoped after some very promising seasons. I hope he gets back to his best."

And he ruled out suggestions Josh Adams should be moved to the middle, where he used to play for Worcester, to accommodate George North and newcomer Johnny McNicholl on the wings.

“Josh still has a lot to learn. He’s scoring tries for fun at the other end of the pitch but he endured a difficult opening half against Fiji and is still a work in progress," continued Devereux.

He insisted: "Wales need to be more offensive, to have more ball-in-play time. We have to concentrate on ball skills. What was so obvious from the World Cup was the handling of the Japanese side. They were outstanding. They showed Wales the way. We have to improve our skills and find space to exploit and what better place than midfield to start.”

Watkin injury woe

Owen Watkin faces a race against time to start the Six Nations after the Ospreys revealed he tore a knee cartilage in the Heineken Champions Cup clash with Racing 92.

The Wales centre will miss the Christmas derby matches and could be out for longer.

a football player on a field: Owen Watkin of Ospreys receives medical attention © Getty Images Owen Watkin of Ospreys receives medical attention

He will see a specialist next week when a clearer picture is expected to emerge.

Wayne Pivac will be hoping for good news, given his dearth of options at centre.

You can read the story in full here .

Grand Slam star is back

Cory Hill, who has not played since his epic Six Nations try against England, finally returns to a rugby field this weekend.

The lock lines up for the Dragons against Worcester in Friday night’s Challenge Cup rematch at Rodney Parade.

Hill damaged his ankle while scoring that crucial try in the win over England back in February and that was followed by a stress fracture of the leg which forced him home early from Wales’ World Cup campaign.

But after ten months out he is finally back, packing down on the blindside flank in place of the suspended Taine Basham.

You can read the Dragons, Cardiff Blues and Scarlets European team news in full here .

Sinckler named Quins captain

Kyle Sinckler, the man dubbed “an emotional time bomb” by Warren Gatland ahead of Wales' Six Nations win over England, has been made Harlequins captain for their must-win Heineken Champions Cup showdown with Ulster.

With Chris Robshaw out of action, Quins boss Paul Gustard has handed the captaincy to Sinckler on his first home appearance of the season.

Savea named NZ best

Back-rower Ardie Savea has scooped the honours at the New Zealand Rugby Awards.

He was named Super Rugby Player of the Year and followed that up with All Blacks Player of the Year.

Savea started eight of New Zealand's 10 Test matches and demonstrated his versatility across the back row.

His World Cup was ended by a knee problem, with surgery meaning he was unable to pick up his awards in person on the night.

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