Ball determined to impress

Fox in the box – Nenad Krsticic

Wales second-row Jake Ball is revved up to impress in the Six Nations after a frustrating series of injuries that have hampered his game.

Ball will start alongside captain Alun-Wyn Jones in their Championship opener, against Italy in Rome on Sunday, in a strong partnership.

And with his November disrupted by a rib injury, lock Ball is determined to stamp his mark on the tournament from the off this weekend.

"I'm really excited, there is been a lot of hard work gone in and some disappointments along the way," he told the Welsh Rugby Union.

"In the Six Nations last year, I came in with an MCL (knee ligament injury), then in the autumn with my ribs as well, it's been a bit of a frustrating time for me and I hadn't hit the form I wanted to over the last year and a half.

"I'm back playing a lot of rugby and I'm very excited to be playing in Rome, there's always been a good log of second-rows in the Wales set-up and it's up to me to put my stamp on the shirt."

Wales will be hoping for a bonus-point win against the Azzurri to kick-off on a perfect note and outside centre Jonathan Davies feels the arrival of Alex King as backs coach could help them in their quest for five points.

"Alex has come in, he's refreshed it and he's just given us a license to play what's in front of us and back ourselves. He's put faith in us as a backline and it's down to us to make good decisions on the field," he said.

"He's given us a lot of confidence to go out and play. He's been very enjoyable to work with and he's a fresh face, he has a new look on things and hopefully that will help us build and keep moving forward."