Six Nations 2014: Ball gives Wales selection headache - Easterby

RBS Six Nations: England v Wales

  • Venue: Twickenham, London
  • Date: Sunday, 9 March
  • Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru; live updates on the BBC Sport website

Scarlets coach Simon Easterby says lock Jake Ball has given Wales coach Warren Gatland a selection dilemma ahead of the Six Nations match against England.

Ball made his first start for Wales in the 27-6 win against France.

Regular second row starter, Alun Wyn Jones, was ruled out with a toe infection just before kick-off.

"Jake took the opportunity with both hands," said Easterby, "So he leaves the Welsh selectors with a bit of a headache, which is great."

English-born but Australian-raised, Ball, qualifies for Wales thanks to his father, who is from Colwyn Bay.

Wales in 2014 Six Nations

Sam Warburton scores a try against France
  • Wales 23-15 Italy
  • Ireland 26-3 Wales
  • Wales 27-6 France
  • England v Wales (9 March)
  • Wales v Scotland (15 March)

He joined the Scarlets in August 2012 having trained with Super 15 club Western Force.

The 22-year-old was initially asked to train with the Six Nations squad in the run up to the tournament.

Following a series of injuries and suspensions picked up by players in his position like Ryan Jones and Ian Evans, Ball received a full call up.

He made his debut as a replacement in the defeat to Ireland before his start against France.

"It was impressive," said Easterby. "He hits hard, works hard. He's aggressive.

"He's really set some standard with us this year both on the pitch and in the gym and his work rate and work ethic is excellent."

Despite doing well against the French, the 6ft 6in, 19 stone forward could lose his place.

British and Irish Lion Jones, who has won 78 Wales caps, is expected to be available for the crunch clash at Twickenham.

Whoever wins the match will have a shot at winning the Six Nations.

Easterby believes that even if his player doesn't get the nod, he has a bright future in the game.

"He's developed into a very competent second row ," said Easterby.

"He's 22 and he's got a long career ahead of him. I think he'll [Ball] only go from strength to strength."