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'I expect to lose him to Wales in the next two or three weeks'

By PA
Bath and Wales forward Toby Faletau

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Bath head coach Neal Hatley says he expects to see a fit-again Taulupe Faletau called into Wales’ Guinness Six Nations camp.

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Faletau played the full 80 minutes of Bath’s 24-20 Gallagher Premiership defeat against Leicester, which followed an hour-long comeback after seven months out injured in the loss to Wasps last weekend.

He has overcome an ankle problem and it would be no surprise if Wales head coach Wayne Pivac added him to his squad ahead of next Saturday’s Twickenham appointment with England.

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Back-row forward Falatau won the last of his 86 Wales caps almost a year ago, and Hatley said: “He is a world-class player and you would never say he has been out for seven months.

“He was good last week and he backed up again today. He is just going to get better and better, and I expect to lose him to Wales in the next two or three weeks.

“He is like a chameleon. You put him in a level up and he just blends in.

“He has that innate ability that, whatever the quality of the players he is playing with, he is the best player on the pitch and he has done that for ages.

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“I am going to turn my phone off and if I see that Welsh number from Wayne Pivac we won’t answer! We want to keep him, but I imagine at some stage he will get a call.”

Leicester trailed by six points at half-time against the Premiership’s bottom club, who were good value for their lead through tries from wing Will Muir, centre Max Ojomoh and back-row forward Josh Bayliss.

Fly-half Orlando Bailey added a penalty and conversion, but the Tigers were not to be denied as number eight Jasper Wiese, scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth and fly-half Freddie Burns claimed touchdowns.

Burns also kicked three conversions, while full-back Bryce Hegarty booted a second-half penalty, with Leicester bossing the final quarter to deny Bath.

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Hatley added: “It’s frustrating. I am not going to say we are happy with a loss. We have got to be better than that.

“I think that was one that got away. They are a good side, well-drilled and well-coached, but for me that feels like we missed an opportunity.

“They won the territory battle in the second-half and they started to squeeze us a bit there towards the end.”

Leaders Leicester survived a major scare to record their first Premiership victory at Bath for 11 years.

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They had lost nine league games in a row at the Recreation Ground and they needed to dig deep before posting a 14th Premiership win from 16 starts this season.

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick said: “We started the game really well, then there was a tough spell. In that second quarter of the game, they put us under enormous pressure.

“It was very clear what we needed to do to make sure we got a result in the second half. We tweaked things in a couple of areas.

“It is a tough competition. Every game is tight and it was pretty fine margins.”

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