Welsh fans on social media are remaining upbeat despite the news that number eight Taulupe Faletau will miss the World Cup with a clavicle injury which requires surgery.
This is the latest installment in a catalogue of injuries for the 28-year-old over the past three years. He has suffered extensively with knee injuries, and has not played any test rugby over the past year due to a twice-broken arm.
While this is a huge loss for Wales, as it has been over the past year, Warren Gatland has had plenty of preparation in playing without him. Wales won a Grand Slam, beat Australia and South Africa and enjoyed the bulk of their 14-match winning streak without the 72-cap forward, and while this is a bitter blow for the team, there is evidence that they can cope without him.
Ross Moriarty has deputised very well when Falatau has not been able to play, and with the bruising power of Josh Navidi in the back-row as well, Wales still can provide the brute force up front that Faletau brings.
That is why Welsh fans on Twitter are not too dismayed by this news. Of course, there are some that are rightfully worried, but this is not as calamitous as it would have been in 2015, for example.
Nonetheless, the two-time British and Irish Lions tourist is a world-class talent, and arguably Wales’ best player when fit. His problem over the past few years is that he has been ravaged by injury. The silver lining there is that it has given the squad time to prepare for his absence.
This has been the reaction:
Big blow for Wales having Faletau ruled out of the World Cup. Fortunately, we have depth (Navidi) and can cope without him, but a big shame nevertheless.
— Sean Nevin ??????? (@SNevin72) August 1, 2019
Massive blow ? Wan the slam without the kid.
— Baramenyn (@Baramenyn) August 1, 2019
Gutted ! Although we do have strength in depth
— Andrew Powell (@powelly2017) August 1, 2019
Gutted for him and for our chances in general. However at least it happened in a position where we have some strength in depth.
— Anthony O'Leary (@antoleary3) August 1, 2019
As disappointing as that is; Wales have coped well without him. If it's one position we're overstocked in, it's the back row. Gutted we won't see a Moriarty, Navidi, Faletau 6,7,8 though! Brysia wella Taulupe!
— Illtud Deiniol (@IDeiniol) August 1, 2019
One of Wales' best players out.
Mercifully, in a position where depth is greatest. https://t.co/n5EfGIZK5Y
— Fraser Watson (@FraserMercsport) August 1, 2019
Likes of Morriarty, Navidi & Ellis Jenkins have stepped up incredibly well to the No.8 jersey in the last 18 months in his absence. However to lose a world class player like this on eve of the world cup is a big blow. Let's hope Shingler, and Jenkins, can pull through. https://t.co/kP6jY6Td7q
— John Pearce ??????? (@JPearce_JP) August 1, 2019
Moriarty is quality & brings a different approach to No 8 but this is still disastrous news ?
— Troubleman (@smcbt) August 1, 2019
Got Moriarty ??
— Lewis Rees (@lewisrees_97) August 1, 2019
Of course, all involved with Welsh rugby will be aware that this is a major loss, particularly given the confidence that Wales have going into the tournament. Faletau brings class and experience to the team, and he has seemingly been around forever despite only being 28.
But in spite of the Bath man’s class, many fans have confidence in the depth of the squad going into the World Cup.
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