Taulupe Faletau has had enough of watching Wales from the sidelines and wants to have a massive role to play in his country’s World Cup campaign.
Broken forearms ruined his 2018/19 season, his absence allowing Ross Moriarty take over the No8 shirt, win a Grand Slam and help Wales set a record benchmark of 14 consecutive wins.
That success has left Faletau with quite a challenge on his hands to force his way back to the top of the pecking order, but it is one he is happily embracing as he makes his way back to full fitness in time for next month’s World Cup warm-up matches.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks but it wasn’t meant to be easy out here,” he told the Wales Rugby Union website from Switzerland where Warren Gatland’s squad are training at altitude.
“It’s good to be back in and amongst the boys and training with them again, I’ve been enjoying it. They’re a group who have done a lot of good things over the last year or so and I’m sure they’ll take that confidence into the games ahead.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks but it wasn’t meant to be easy out here. Being away from rugby for that amount of time, the hunger is more there now," says @taulupe.https://t.co/V5cQhPA7Jk pic.twitter.com/3XtJeRSzUL
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) July 22, 2019
“It’s always during the build up to games where I wish I was a part of it or at least being around the group. Hopefully I can get some training done here and my arm will be okay and then I can play again soon.
“It’s about winning my place in the team back, a lot of hard work will go into it but everybody is doing the same thing to put their hands up.”
The British and Irish Lions No8 first fractured his forearm playing for Bath before Wales’ November international series and he suffered the exact same injury on his return to play in January with the English Premiership club.
Those injuries have meant it’s now over a year since the 28 year old last played for his country, but he is optimistic everything is now on the mend with his forearm.
“Hopefully it’s better this time around, I haven’t played a game yet but I’ve been doing some contact with the boys and it’s holding up okay so far. I had the same procedure the second time around, the surgeon put another plate the other side of the bone to strengthen it.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”
In & out. I’ll be back ?? pic.twitter.com/Rc0pmKdbI5
“World Cups are just something you want to be part of. Playing for your country at a World Cup is another level. It was more frustrating the second time around because I was looking forward to playing some rugby at the end of the season but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I’ve done bits and bobs – not quite full on yet – but during the stuff I have done so far it has been okay. I didn’t realise at the time but being away from rugby for that amount of time, the hunger is more there now I guess. You are doing it year in, year out – you take it for granted at times.”
WATCH: The latest RugbyPass documentary, Foden – Stateside, looks at how ex-England international Ben Foden is settling into Major League Rugby in New York
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.