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Kieran Hardy: Scarlets scrum-half aims to become Wales' first choice

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Published in Rugby
Friday, 11 June 2021 00:11

Scarlets scrum-half Kieran Hardy is hoping to prove he should be Wales' first-choice number nine this summer.

With Gareth Davies selected for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, Hardy is named in Wayne Pivac's squad alongside Tomos Williams and Rhodri Williams.

Wales face Canada on 3 July before two Tests against Argentina.

"I would love to leave as Wales' first choice and will try to do everything to accomplish that," said Hardy.

The Wales number nine shirt has been up for grabs this season with Hardy, Davies, Tomos Williams, Rhys Webb and Lloyd Williams all playing under Pivac. Rhodri Williams has been recalled after a seven-year absence.

Hardy added: "All the nines bring something different and they will all be itching for an opportunity so it's up to us to grab it when we get it.

"Competition is healthy and congratulations to Gareth [on the Lions call-up] because he deserves it for the way he has played for his club and country over the past few years.

"It is great to be competitive with Tomos and Rhodri coming in. So there is now somebody new coming in who wants his opportunity.

"It is about the team. Winning is a habit and we did well in the Six Nations. That means nothing if we go into these three games and perform poorly."

Hardy is also in contention to be called up for the Lions tour if there is an injury to Davies, Ali Price or Conor Murray in South Africa.

"I have heard nothing at all, not since the selection went out, so I am assuming that everyone carries on as normal and tries to play as well as they can and whoever is in contention will be called up," said Hardy.

"It is inevitable, part of the game that people pick up bumps and bruises.

"There is a lot of rugby and training they do before they have to get on the plane so everyone who is in contention probably needs to stay on top of their game and make sure they are ready for anything."

Hardy is in the standby selection mix because of a remarkable 12 months during which he has risen from being a Scarlets understudy to winning a first international cap.

The 25-year-old helped Wales win the Six Nations title with a try in the Triple Crown victory over England, before damaging a hamstring which ruled him out of the final two matches of the season.

Hardy admits being on standby for the Lions tour is surreal.

"I was definitely nowhere near that 12 months ago," he added.

"It has definitely been a breakthrough season. I got my opportunity to be a part of the Welsh set-up in the autumn and was lucky enough to get capped.

"I had a decent couple of games in the Six Nations and you never know who is watching and how far you can go up the ladder.

"I was over the moon just to be in contention for the Lions squad, but I didn't quite make it. Fair play to the boys who did and all the best to them."

Hardy will play his final game for Scarlets against Edinburgh in the Pro14 on Sunday before linking up with Wales.

Next season at Parc y Scarlets he will work with new head coach Dwayne Peel, a former Wales and British and Irish Lions scrum-half.

"It will be great to learn off Dwayne," added Hardy.

"Dwayne is a local boy and played a lot for Scarlets and done a good job at Ulster. Just having another scrum-half looking at your game and another set of eyes will be beneficial to all the nines.

"He will probably look after us a little bit more and be harsher if we are not performing."

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