Powell hints at league move
May 20, 2010
Wales could lose Andy Powell to rugby league within a year © Getty Images
Wales No.8 Andy Powell could follow Gareth Thomas to rugby league as he continues to struggle with the fallout from his drink driving ban.
The Cardiff Blues backrow has been recalled to the Wales squad to tour New Zealand and South Africa for the first time since that infamous February morning when, after a long night's celebration following his side's sensational Six Nations comeback win over Scotland, he drove a golf buggy down a motorway near the team's Vale of Glamorgan training base.
He was subsequently dropped for the remainder of Wales' Championship campaign, and banned from driving for 15 months, but his recall for next month's tour would indicate the British & Irish Lion is still part of national coach Warren Gatland's plans. However, Powell is not ruling out a move to the 13-man code and insists he is tempted by a switch.
"I would love to go and play league," he told The Guardian. "I really would. It would suit my game. League is about getting the ball in hand and it's a straight-on game that matches my style. As a kid I always followed league and I also played it - around under-14 level. It's something I'd like to do. I'm sure I will do it - at some point in the next year or so. I've been up a few times to watch Alfie (Thomas) play and he's really enjoying himself."
Speaking for the first time since the headline-grabbing incident, Powell expressed his remorse to Gatland and his family, while he said he has endured a tough time over the last few months.
"It's been really tough," he said. "Far harder than I ever thought. The last few months have been quite low and having an injury hasn't helped. I've been in a downward spiral I'm only just escaping. I once gave up rugby for a year when I doubted myself. But this time has been different. I'm having to ring friends to ask for a lift here, there and everywhere. It's putting other people out and I don't like that. I've got good friends around me but I really regret what I did.
"Wales needed to make an example of me to put an end to all these silly stunts. I've done the crime and now I'm doing the time. But Gatland has been great, he has got brilliant man-management skills. Mum was gutted really. After a good two years for me she wanted to get out the old wooden spoon and give me a good slap on the arse. She was supportive but she gave me a good bollocking as well. I think she's quietly forgiven me now."
Gatland is happy to welcome Powell back into the fold, and believes his charge is out to show what he can do on the pitch this summer. "He desperately wants to be part of this Welsh squad and get an opportunity to prove some of his critics wrong and prove that he is capable of playing at the highest level," The New Zealander said.
"There was no pressure on us not to include him for the remainder of the Six Nations, we could have made it one game and brought him back in. He's been remorseful about what he's done, it's been well documented. Unfortunately a few weeks ago he picked up a bit of a calf injury but we've had him in the Vale training and he looks in good shape."