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Shingler: I've questioned my fitness

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Meet the back row gunning for World Cup selection despite not playing a match in 14 months

Aaron Shingler hasn’t played a rugby match in 14 months but he is in thick of things in the Swiss Alps trying to push himself into Wales’ World Cup selection reckoning. 

It was the Guinness PRO14 final in May 2018 when the back row suffered the injury that has kept him off the pitch. However, he is now fighting fit and hoping some caps in Wales’ warm-up matches can prove decisive in getting him on the plane to Japan in September.

“For eight months, I was questioning whether the leg would be good enough,” he told the Welsh Rugby Union website. “Luckily enough it is, so I’m very happy to just be able to train. 

“A couple of more weeks training with Wales and I’ll hopefully get an opportunity. If that opportunity comes, then I feel like I’ll be ready. I want to play for Wales and the Scarlets, so I just keep pushing.

“It was massively difficult. Up until the eight-month mark, I was thinking that I wasn’t going to come back. I just couldn’t function daily. I’d have one good session and then the next day I wouldn’t be able to train.

“When I came into camp, I was a little bit concerned with how I was going to cope but I’m feeling really fit and strong at the moment.”

Shingler is part of the 42-strong Wales squad currently training in the Swiss alpine town of Fiesch where the science is for players to sleep at high altitude and come down the mountain to train.  

“I remember the first night I was up there, trying to get to sleep, and my heart was beating a lot harder than normal, which is unusual,” continued Shingler.

“You get up for the toilet in the night, and you have to climb a little bit of stairs, and my heart is beating again. It feels like you’re working even when you’re sleeping. So that’s what it’s like up the top.”

One of seven back rowers in Warren Gatland’s squad, Shingler wants to make the most of any opportunity he gets. “Unfortunately, it [competition for places] is very fierce and I might only get one opportunity. In training, I have to impress every day, work hard every day and keep my fingers crossed that I get to go.”

WATCH: The behind the scenes RugbyPass documentary on the 2018 Guinness PRO14 final between Leinster and Aaron Shingler’s Scarlets in Dublin 

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Meet the back row gunning for World Cup selection despite not playing a match in 14 months