By David Williams
Warren Gatland has earned plenty of plaudits from within rugby for guiding Wales into the quarter-finals of the World Cup – but now they are coming from further afield.
As Gatland’s squad put their feet up this weekend and watch other nations slug it out in France, he has received a long-range pat on the back from the darts world.
Welshman Gerwyn Price – once good enough with the oval ball in his hands, rather than tungsten, to have played semi-professionally – has been impressed by the team’s form in three victories in France.
Price – who played for Cross Keys and Glasgow among other clubs – reckons Wales are worth a few quid at the 22/1 to win the tournament currently quoted by DragonBet.
“Fingers crossed, you don’t have to be the best team in the world to win tournaments all the time,” said former hooker Price.
“It’s a young group of boys and with Gatland being back the last couple of months, he’s filled them with confidence and it seems to be working.
“They seem to be fitter than ever. He does put them through their paces and they seem to be playing really well.”
Warren Gatland’s team were in the Swiss Alps on a training camp ahead of the Rugby World Cup in France. https://t.co/WayZKpSWWP
— ITV Wales News (@ITVWales) September 24, 2023
As Wales rest in readiness for their final Pool C match against Georgia, Scotland are gearing up for a busy few days.
The Scots are currently priced at 100/1 to lift the Webb Ellis trophy, but if they can get maximum points against Romania they will set themselves up for a shoot-out against Ireland in their final Pool B match which could yet see them make the knockout stages.
If they dump out the Irish, then watch those odds tumble.
A Welshman will aiming to help them do it in the shape of Scarlets prop Javan Sebastian.
A decade ago the 29-year-old turned away from professional rugby to join semi-professional club Carmarthen Quins, where he was born, and work in the meat industry.
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On Saturday in Lille, Sebastian will play just his seventh Test for his father’s country of birth.
“I worked in the butcher’s for about two months. I couldn’t hack it any longer than that. It was dark, not a nice place,” said Sebastian.
“I thought my professional rugby career was pretty much over, so I took a year out to reflect and get back to normal life.
“It made me open my eyes to what I could potentially do. Being a butcher or any other normal job is quite tough.
“I’m not saying that being a rugby player isn’t tough, but the real world is scary,” the former Wales under-18s font-rower added.
Sebastian will join Edinburgh after the World Cup, the city where his father was raised.
“Playing at Edinburgh next season, it’ll be good for him to develop alongside his international team-mates,” Scotland scrum coach Pieter de Villiers said.
“It’ll be good to have him closer to home and to see him grow. In terms of the set-piece, I think he’s one of the best scrummaging tight-heads out there.
“You can ask any front-row player, they’ll always back Javan to pack down in a scrum,” he added.
Gerwyn Price never knows when he’s beaten! 💪🏼
‘The Iceman’ fights back from 5-1 down as he survives two match darts from Damon Heta to make the Semis in Budapest!
He’ll take on Luke Humphries at about 8 o’clock tonight.
— Darts Cymru (@DartsCymru) September 24, 2023
Scotland are expected to beat Romania comfortably to keep their hopes of a quarter-final place alive.
The Oaks have conceded more than 150 points in their opening Pool B games, defeats to world number one side Ireland and trophy holders South Africa.
“We know we are in the pool of death,” said Romania head coach Eugen Apjok.
“It’s a big challenge for the team and I hope we take something from the first two games.
“It wasn’t what we were looking for but I hope the players will learn a lot of things.
“Any mistakes will cost us at this level,” the former international fly-half added.
Javan Sebastian determined not to butcher chance in Scotland front row: Tighthead prop says starting place is ‘a bit surreal’ as Gregor Townsend’s men target bonus-point win against Romania
“The real world is scary,” says Javan Sebastian. The prop is reflecting on a career… pic.twitter.com/Lxaq4GEgMk
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