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How a two week injury turned into a seven month ordeal for Taulupe Faletau

By PA
Taulupe Faletau /PA

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Taulupe Faletau is thought to be on the verge of a Guinness Six Nations call-up as Wales prepare for next Saturday’s Twickenham clash against England.

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Faletau underlined his match fitness by playing the whole game in Bath’s 24-20 Gallagher Premiership loss to leaders Leicester.

It followed an hour-long comeback against Wasps the previous week after seven months out with an ankle injury.

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The Bath back-row forward won the last of his 86 Wales caps almost a year ago, but he looks primed for an international return ahead of remaining Six Nations appointments with England, France and Italy.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac is currently without the likes of Faletau’s fellow British and Irish Lions Alun Wyn Jones, George North, Ken Owens and Justin Tipuric through injuries.

So Faletau potentially putting himself back in the selection picture is a major boost for the defending Six Nations champions, who revived their title challenge with victory over Scotland last time out.

Before the Wasps game, Faletau had been sidelined since going on as a replacement during the Lions’ second Test defeat against South Africa in Cape Town last summer.

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“It was a rolled ankle, and I probably ran back too early and just had issues with my calves for a rolling two weeks that ended up being seven months,” he said.

“It was a rolling two weeks for a long time, then I would get to the end of that two weeks, I would run again and it would ping again. It was basically that for the whole time.

“I am just enjoying getting out there, whether it’s Bath or Wales. Whatever it is, I just want to enjoy the games because seven months out wasn’t fun.”

Taulupe Faletau
Taulupe Faletau
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If Faletau is added to the Test squad, he would potentially have a chance of being involved at Twickenham, where Wales have not claimed a Six Nations win for 10 years.

“He (Pivac) has been in contact just to see how I am and if I am playing or not,” Faletau added.

“I feel I needed a couple of games, and I’ve had that. It is up to them. If they call me, then obviously I am not going to say no. We will find out soon, I guess.”

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Bath are braced to lose Faletau at some stage during the Six Nations, with head coach Neal Hatley in no doubt about his readiness.

“He is like a chameleon,” Hatley said. “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.

“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.”

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