Dee Relishing Starting Role


Wales international Elliot Dee is relishing the starting opportunities he’s receiving during Wales summer internationals after biding his time in his 39 caps for Wales so far.

The Dragons hooker is an experienced Test match performer, featured at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and is already a two-time Six Nations title winner.

But of his 39 international games so far, Dee has only started nine and has become used to coming off the bench, often replacing Ken Owens at the head of the Welsh pack.

With Owens on duty with the British & Irish Lions in South Africa this summer, Dee has been named to start all of Wales’ summer Tests – the win over Canada and the two meetings with Argentina.

It has made for a nice change for the 27-year-old as he acknowledges.

“I am massively enjoying it. It’s nice to be out there starting after being behind Ken in the Six Nations and for a number of years,” said Dee.

“It’s a chance to show what I can do and I am hoping to go again.

“It’s a different role in the team. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to be the starter every game.

“I’ve got into that role of adding impact off the bench and this is a different role, but it’s one I am enjoying.”

Dee started Wales’ 68-12 hammering of Canada and also began last weekend’s 20-20 draw with Argentina at Principality Stadium.

The Pumas are again the opposition for Wayne Pivac’s side in Cardiff this weekend.

Looking back on the first Test with Argentina, Dee added: “There was definitely some frustration in the changing room.

“We knew we left a few points out there, it was a game we could have done a lot better in, and it was a game we could have won.

“We are focusing on not leaving as many points out there this weekend. It was a good battle and Argentina were physical up front.

“They are a big, physical bunch who run on a lot of emotion. It’s great to play against the best in the world. You want to test yourself.

“It was great to be out there and to play in a great Test match.

“A series win would be massive after a lot of hard work. It’s been a long tough season and a win would cap it off.”

Following last weekend’s 20-20 draw with Los Pumas, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has freshened his squad with four changes in the backs and a further three up front.

Dee is one of six Dragons in the squad for the second test, with Leon Brown, Ben Carter, Will Rowlands, Ross Moriarty all lining up from the start and dynamic back row Taine Basham among the replacements.

Tom Rogers returns to win his second cap and joins Hallam Amos and Owen Lane in an exciting back-three while Nick Tompkins comes in to partner captain Jonathan Davies in midfield.

Cardiff Rugby duo Tomos Williams and Jarrod Evans, who impressed from the bench during last weekend’s comeback, are given the opportunity to start on the international stage.

In the pack, Gareth Thomas is handed his first start with Brown also coming in alongside Dee.

The second row remains unchanged for a third consecutive week while Josh Turnbull replaces the injured Aaron Wainwright with Moriarty moving to No 8.

“It has been a long, hard season. The Autumn Nations Cup was basically a Six Nations so we have played so many derbies, whether international or club, that it’s been tough,” Dee said.

“We are just raring to go for the weekend to get some reward for the hard work of the last 12 months.

“There is massive competition for the two jersey in Wales with some really good players.

“Each time someone plays, they put their hand up. We are all a little bit different.

“I am not the biggest or most gifted athlete in the bunch, but maybe my point of difference is being a bit of a ball player.

“The competition is tough and you know you have to perform when picked.”

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