Ken Owens’ future hangs in the balance

File:Ken Owens. Wales Grand Slam Celebration, Senedd 19 March 2012.jpg

Welsh rugby union stars the Scarlets celebrated recently after a heart-stopping win over Italian rivals Treviso.

The Pro12 in Llanelli on 20th September saw the Scarlets winning seven tries to nil, with Welsh internationals Gareth Davies and Liam Williams touching down twice.

It was the first win for hosting team Scarlets since new coach Wayne Pivac was drafted. Having coached Auckland to the National Provincial Championship in 2002 and 2003, Pivac has clearly shown his skills as a coach and could promise a bright future for the Scarlets.

Other stars to light up the game were hooker Emyr Phillips, who went over in the opening minute, while Gareth Owen and Johan Snyman scored tries in the second half. Davies’ try was assisted by second row Joe Snyman and flanker Aaron Shingler.

While it was a team effort for the Scarlets, one player’s absence was particularly noticeable – Ken Owens. The 27-year-old recently suffered a neck injury while training and was deemed unfit for Guinness PRO12 game.

Now, the Scarlets have told press that Owens has been assessed by their own medical team and has also had consultations with specialists. The Scarlets’ head of training Andrew Walker said: “We have undergone a thorough process of consultation with specialists over the last few days in regards to Ken’s injury, and will decide on the best course of action in the coming days.”

The news does not bode well for the Welsh team, whose odds in the autumn tests could drop dramatically if Owens continues to be absent. The star has started in Wales’ last three tests and is a key facet of national coach Warren Gatland’s plans. He first appeared on the scene with his international debut during the 2011 World Cup. Since then, he has gone on to win 26 caps.

Wales will have cause to worry now that Owens could be out for an undetermined amount of time. Their autumn Test schedule begins against Australia on 8th November, before the national team take on Fiji, New Zealand and the Springboks.

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: “It’s a shame for Ken on both a personal level and the team as a whole that he will require surgery on the injury he received earlier this week to his neck.

“Ken had been playing well but the focus now is to get see him through the surgery and get him back here with us for rehabilitation.”