With the Six Nations Rugby tournament just completed. this week Bill Carne was delighted to catch up with Welsh Rugby international prop Rob Evans to chat about his involvement in the front row as he started four of the games and then came on as a replacement for the tussle against Italy to have his cap total already set at 25 despite the fact that he is still only 25 years old . . .

Bill: Hi Rob thanks for talking to us so soon after the end of the tournament. Are you in good shape?

Rob Evans: Yeah, pretty good although I have a few bumps and bruises, which is why I didn’t play for The Scarlets against Munster in the Guinness Pro 14 at Thomand Park but I was raring to go for last Friday evening’s big match at home to La Rochelle in the European Champions Cup, another huge event straight after the Six Nations.

Bill : Your first match was against Scotland at the Principality Stadium. You must have been delighted to win and also be nominated by Stuart Barnes as a possible contender for man of the match?

Rob Evans: Thanks Bill, although you know I don’t pay too much attention to what commentators say, as long as I feel I’ve done my job. Our preparation had gone really well and there was a buzz at The Vale in training and after an early breakfast the adrenalin steps in, especially at the team talk. We arrived at the ground in plenty of time and as usual I was one of the first to be strapped up by the physios before doing a few stretches.

You can’t but be affected by the crowd to walk out in front of almost 75,000 was as amazing as ever; as was singing the National Anthem before we made a terrific start with tries by Gareth Davies and Leigh Halfpenny, plus two conversions gave us a 14-0 lead at half time.

Leigh added another alongside Steff Evans and kicked beautifully as we raced to a 34-0 lead before Peter Home scored late on for the Scots, converted by Finn Russell and with 11 of us Scarlets in the squad it was nice to have our old pal John Barclay leading the opposition to defeat!

I stayed on until the 57th minute mark as I propped against Gordon Reid and after celebrating victory at the official dinner it was back to The Vale for some sleep!

Bill: Next up – England at Twickenham – did you go there with real optimism?

Rob Evans: Of course we did. Everyone knows that this is always a very big match and this one was no exception. We continued our tried and trusted formula as we trained hard in the early part of the week before staying at Oaklands Park, which is right out in the country near Weybridge.

We trained at a place right away from anywhere and when we returned to the hotel there was stuff like pool, darts and table-tennis – and I must admit I fancy myself as a bit of a hustler!

The day followed the same pattern but we made a slow start in front of 82,000 spectators and found ourselves 12-0 down as Johnny May scored two tries in the first 20 minutes and Owen Farrell converted one.

Although Dan Coles is known as a huge scrummager I didn’t find him so for the 57 minutes I was involved and we clawed our way back with a penalty from Rhys Patchell – and we made sure of a bonus point with a Gareth Anscombe kick late on.

We lost 12-6; a huge disappointment, especially since the TMO turned down our claims for a try by Anscombe and Scott Williams was denied a try when he looked a certainty to score in the corner but was somehow knocked into touch by Sam Underhill.

But we had to grit our teeth, put on a Welsh tie and suit to attend the post-match dinner, which wasn’t the most enjoyable I’ve been to, for obvious reasons!

Bill: The Aviva Stadium, Dublin, against an undefeated Ireland side brimming with confidence and supported by a partisan crowd of 51,700. How did it go?

Rob Evans: We flew out of Cardiff Airport and stayed at the Dublin Hilton, where I had been with The Scarlets last season when we won the final in the city - and again we were treated really well. The first half was nip and tuck as we trailed 15-13 at the break and I came across Andrew Porter for the first time as a powerful, no-nonsense prop who I enjoyed scrummaging against.

But to be honest we were never able to gain huge periods of pressure and although we had tries from Gareth Davies, Aaron Shingler and Steff Evans, plus 12 points from Leigh Halfpenny to keep us in a game a late interception try Jacob Stockdale killed us off.

It was a second loss on the trot, which was very disappointing – but the only consolation was that we enjoyed the dinner a bit more than we might normally because we had watched Scotland defeat England!

We flew back to Cardiff the next day knowing that only two wins. Against Italy and France, would give is any chance of second place in the table, if other results went our way.

Bill: The match against Italy on a Sunday at 3pm was different for you because as Warren Gatland decided to give starts to players like James Davies you were chosen for the bench and didn’t join the fray until the 60th minute. What was that like?

Rob Evans: It wasn’t too bad because we were told beforehand and I was chuffed for ‘Cub’ – but it was a bit strange going through the whole match-day routine, only to sit and watch Nicky Smith for an hour!

I enjoyed my cameo though and what was best of all from a 38-14 scoreline was the fact that after a rattling good start we picked up a bonus to set up a tense match against the French to round off the season.

Bill: After Ireland had beaten England you know that victory over France at the Principality would earn you second spot in the final table. Did that alter the team’s approach?

Rob Evans: Not at all – we are committed to a plan and try to stick to what we do best, although sometimes we have to look for Plan B – as we did in this match because we had to ‘win ugly’ against a French team also looking for the runner’s up place.

The 5 o’clock start means there is more time to fill during the day but the start came soon enough and we were pleased with a good start as Liam Williams scored a try after three minutes and we had three Leigh Halfpenny penalties by the 31st minute.

But they fought back to 14-10 by half time and then a penalty reduced the gap to 14-3 – and they also missed another easier penalty and dropped key passes.

A lot was made of the way their skipper Basteraud piled me into touch but I had got my pass away so that was the important thing – and eventually we were delighted to hold on to our narrow lead and claim second place, although it’s harder watching those last few minutes rather than being on the field!

Bill: It’s been a busy spell Rob so thanks for talking to us – you are a star. Any last thoughts?

Rob Evans: Yeah, It’s been another cracking season and there are still things to play for – and I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support.

Life is never dull at the moment, as I found out recently when I was driving up to Cardiff on the M4 and was near Llandarcy turn off when I wondered why the car behind me kept flashing his lights more and more frantically.

So I pulled onto the hard shoulder and the car filled with really black smoke – and after I piled out it was on fire within 30 seconds and when I was 100 metres down the tarmac I could see the blaze as it became completely burned out!

Happy Days!