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Wayne Pivac lavishes praise on Tom Rogers

Wayne Pivac lavishes praise on Tom Rogers
© Reuters
Scarlets wing will line up against Canada at the Principality Stadium.

Wayne Pivac says that Wales newcomer Tom Rogers has taken to the international environment "like a duck to water" as he prepares for his Test debut.

Rogers will line up against Canada in Cardiff on Saturday after playing barely a dozen games for the Scarlets.

The 22-year-old wing is among five uncapped players in Wales head coach Pivac's match-day 23 for the opening game of a summer series that also features two appointments with Argentina.

And it is a golden opportunity for him to make an impression as Pivac continues expanding his playing pool on the road towards World Cup 2023.

"He is very good in the air, he is showing good awareness and he's learning a lot about what he does off the ball," Pivac said.

"That is a big area for him to improve in terms of his work-rate and his involvements.

"He has taken to it like a duck to water. It's just the enthusiasm these young guys are bringing, as you would expect.

"Hopefully, we get a good day weather-wise on Saturday, we get a game that flows and he can get plenty of ball in his hands and show us what he can do.

"We have to build more depth at some stage, and this is the obvious window. It's great to see guys receive the phone call for the first time and hearing the excitement on the other end of the phone.

"We have been really impressed with the raw talent at our disposal."

It will also be a red-letter day for the Carmarthenshire village of Cefneithin when Rogers runs out in front of an 8,000 Principality Stadium crowd.

The local rugby club has a past players roll of honour headed by Barry John, and Rogers is now the latest off that production line.

"There is a bus full of my mates from Cefneithin Rugby Club going to the game, so they will be making a lot of noise," Rogers said. "They have all got tickets.

"It has always been a goal of mine (to play for Wales) since I was a kid, but I never thought it would come so soon.

"I will try to relax and cherish every moment on the pitch. I am just looking forward to getting out there now.

"Training has been very intense – there is a lot of competition – and I have learnt a lot the last few days from other players."

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Wales and British and Irish Lions back Liam Williams (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rogers' colleagues in the back-three on Saturday will include Scarlets team-mate Leigh Halfpenny, who makes his 100th Test appearance for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

And there has also been a link to the Lions squad in South Africa for Rogers, with Scarlets star Liam Williams passing on his congratulations.

"He sent me a text as soon as he knew about the squad – he was one of the first people who messaged me," Rogers added.

"I phoned my mother and father (after selection). They were over the moon for me, crying. It was very emotional.

"They will be there on Saturday, and they will be the first in the stadium. I can guarantee that."

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Wales head coach Wayne Pivac pictured in October 2020
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