Owens to miss rest of Wales’ autumn Tests

Ken Owens released from Wales’ Autumn Nations Series squad due to back injury; Wales host Fiji on Sunday before facing Australia on November 20; Wales pitch invader against South Africa given lifetime ban from Principality Stadium

Last Updated: 08/11/21 6:35pm

Ken Owens will not add to his 82 Wales caps this month

Ken Owens will miss Wales’ entire Autumn Nations Series due to a back injury.

The British and Irish Lions hooker sat out Saturday’s 23-18 defeat by world champions South Africa, and has now had to withdraw from Wayne Pivac’s squad.

Owens had been named in Wales’ initial line-up for the 54-16 New Zealand loss on October 30 but was forced out shortly after his selection had been confirmed.

The 34-year-old will also miss the Cardiff Tests against Fiji and Australia.

“Ken Owens has been released from the national squad due to a back injury which will prevent him from taking any part in the Autumn Nations Series,” read a Welsh Rugby Union statement.

Wales suffered successive defeats against New Zealand and South Africa

Ryan Elias started Wales’ slender loss to the Springboks with Ulster’s Bradley Roberts coming off the bench for his debut in the closing stages.

Wales coach Pivac believes his side made big strides in running South Africa close and will be eyeing two wins, starting with Fiji on Sunday.

“We could have won that match, it came down to a couple of moments,” said Pivac.

“We’ve a bit of work to do at the scrum but we matched them across the park and led for periods.

“It is a big step in the right direction, playing the world champions at their own game.

“I thought it was a big pat on the back for their effort.”

Wales pitch invader given lifetime ban from Principality Stadium

A man invaded the pitch as Wales created a scoring opportunity for Liam Williams

Meanwhile, the spectator who invaded the pitch during Wales’ defeat to South Africa has been handed a lifetime ban from the Principality Stadium.

The Welsh Rugby Union and South Wales Police have identified the culprit, who ran onto the field and forced full-back Liam Williams to jump over him as he was detained by stadium staff.

Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams has warned that rugby’s traditional match atmosphere is “under threat” from the likes of pitch invaders, with the WRU ready to tighten up rules for spectators.

“Working collaboratively with South Wales Police we were able to identify the pitch invader who entered the field of play during Wales versus South Africa at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, November 6,” said Williams.

“The WRU, Principality Stadium and South Wales Police condemns any behaviour of this kind and the individual will be issued with a lifetime ban from buying any tickets from the WRU for rugby events held at the Principality Stadium in future.

“We were deeply disappointed to discover the individual is a register player and member of a rugby club; the WRU are currently investigating this as a code of conduct breach.

“I’d like to thank the pitch-side stewards and on-pitch security team who acted swiftly, stopping the individual and escorting them from the field of play.

“For more than 20 years this stadium has been revered across the world for its unique atmosphere and game-day experience.

“It’s extremely disappointing to think that by recent events the traditional game-day experience is under threat, and that we might be forced to look at additional measures that will impact on the fan experience in future.”

Pivac was left to lament the regrettable pitch invasion after his side’s slender Springboks defeat.

Williams’ need to take evasive action to steer clear of the invader came during one of Wales’ most promising attacks against the reigning world champions.

Asked about the incident on Saturday, Pivac said: “You don’t want to see that in the game, it’s very disappointing that happened but there was nothing the officials could do about that.

“The players might have been distracted but there wasn’t much more the officials could have done. They’ve got to deal with that the way they did.”

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