Wales head coach Warren Gatland has no doubt his players understand the importance of Saturday’s Millennium Stadium clash against Ireland as a fierce battle for World Cup squad places intensifies. “There were a couple of little niggles and fights at training with the forwards. When they are holding and grabbing each other, you can tell there is a little bit of tension in the air. They are pretty aware of how important Saturday is, and the opportunity open to them.” There are two more uncapped players on the replacements’ bench in New Zealand-born fly-half Gareth Anscombe, whose mother is from Cardiff, and Anscombe’s Cardiff Blues colleague, hooker Kristian Dacey. Had it not been for what Gatland described as “a slight thigh strain,” it is likely that Anscombe would have started against Ireland this weekend. T he team will be captained by Scarlets centre Scott Williams, who leads his country for the first time. Elsewhere in the line-up, there is only a second Test start at fly-half for Gloucester’s James Hook since the 2011 World Cup, although his half-back partnership with Mike Phillips boasts a combined total of 170 caps. And while the uncapped starting quartet have golden chances against Ireland to press their claims, the same applies to players like full-back Hallam Amos, prop Nicky Smith and number eight Dan Baker, who packs down in the back-row alongside Moriarty and Justin Tipuric. England Under-20 World Cup winner Ross Moriarty is among four players handed a Wales debut on Saturday, when he will be joined by Ospreys wing Eli Walker, Newport Gwent Dragons centre Tyler Morgan and Bath lock Dominic Day. St Helens-born Gloucester flanker Moriarty, whose father Paul and uncle Richard both played for Wales, helped England win successive Under-20 World Cup finals in 2013 – against Wales – when his team-mates included current senior England stars Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell, and 2014. Moriarty is not tied to England because he has not represented either the senior team or England’s designated second XV, the Saxons. “There are quite a few players that have been in the squad for a number of years that we know a lot about, so that’s why there is a chance for some of the fringe players and younger players, and even more experienced players, to go out there on Saturday and perform,” Gatland said. “If you want to impress, then in front of 75,000 people with the roof closed at home, there is no better opportunity, so I am trying to give these players the best possible chance to go out and perform. “We have pushed the players right to the limit, and they have responded magnificently. “We know how hard we trained in preparation for 2011 (World Cup), and this has definitely been a step up. For everyone, it shows how much they want to make the World Cup squad and be a part of it, and it is going to be tough on us as coaches and selectors having to let some players down when we make that final cut. “We haven’t done a huge amount of contact stuff, but the forwards had a pretty tasty session this morning. They really ramped it up. Gatland reported a “couple of little niggles and fights” among the forwards at training on Tuesday, with Wales having entered the competitive warm-up phase of their World Cup countdown. He will name a final 31-man World Cup party on August 31. Wales face home and away appointments with Ireland before then. Press Association
The Health Sciences Campus is undergoing a $35 million beautification project that aims to create a more cohesive appearance between the University Park Campus and HSC.The project has been divided into three phases. The first and current phase focuses on streetscape beautification, largely moving in an east-to-west direction across campus. These phases will reduce disruption within the campus to manageable sizes.Voluntary public funds will be used to support streetscape improvements including new sidewalks and infrastructure.“The main goal is to create a better environment and to improve the pedestrian experience on the campus and surrounding streets for faculty, staff, students, visitors to the campus and the community,” said Laurie Stone, USC executive director of land use and planning.Larger impacts to the overall aesthetics of the campus will include two prominent campus markers on Soto Street and smaller ones on less-populated campus entrances.Construction began in August, when infrastructure was readjusted on Alcazar and Soto streets. Power lines, water and gas lines were moved underground in order to create a seamless path for pedestrians.Unlike the University Park Campus, HSC does not have a consistent architectural style. To stylistically connect the two campuses, there are plans for more outdoor park-like areas to be built. Widened sidewalks, decorative brick motifs and 700 trees will be added as well.Project coordinators hope this beautification process will create uniformity within.“The campus also currently lacks an identity; the brick banding and use of streetscape fixtures similar to the University Park Campus will help enhance the USC identity at the Health Sciences Campus,” Stone said.Though construction is in its early phases, students are eager to see the evolution of the campus.“I am looking forward to seeing that [final product],” said Ying Long, a graduate student studying in the pharmacy doctorate program. “We [students] would like to see the beauty of the campus. If it’s going to become more friendly, it makes the experience better.”The City of Los Angeles owns the property near Soto Street, which is designated as a public street.Some students are optimistic about the change the construction will bring to the campus.“I think it will enhance the area, especially in this campus,” said Toshifumi Araki, a student majoring in occupational therapy at HSC.Potential improvements also include relocating the handball court and building an outdoors exercise circuit route.The streetscape phase of the HSC beautification process will begin in fall 2013, according to Stone, depending on city approvals. The university expects the project to be completed in 2015.