Wales boosted by return of experienced Faletau

Taulupe Faletau 27/2/2021
Taulupe Faletau has joined up with Wales’ Guinness Six Nations squad ahead of the clash with England.

Taulupe Faletau has joined up with Wales’ Guinness Six Nations squad ahead of the clash with England.

The 31-year-old, who has won 86 caps including 41 in the Championship, joins up with Wayne Pivac’s men ahead of their highly-anticipated trip to Twickenham to face Eddie Jones’ side on Saturday.

The back rower has not played for Wales since last year’s Championship but made his comeback from injury for Bath against Wasps two weeks ago, before playing the full 80 minutes against Leicester last weekend.

Faletau has been hampered by injury since the second Test of The British & Irish Lions’ summer tour to South Africa.

“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,” said Faletau.

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

Faletau adds significant experience to a Welsh pack lacking the likes of Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn-Jones and Josh Navidi.

He replaces Christ Tshiunza, who returns to Exeter Chiefs following a hamstring injury in the only change to the Wales squad, and Bath Rugby coach Neal Hatley expects Faletau to hit the ground running.

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

Wales got their Guinness Six Nations campaign up and running in Round 2 with a 20-17 victory over Scotland courtesy of a late Dan Biggar drop goal after they were beaten 29-7 by Ireland in Round 1.

The defending champions face England at 4.45pm on Saturday.

Wales Squad

Forwards: Rhys Carré (Cardiff), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Gareth Thomas (Ospreys), Dewi Lake (Ospreys), Bradley Roberts (Ulster), Leon Brown (Dragons), Tomas Francis (Ospreys), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Ben Carter (Dragons), Seb Davies (Cardiff), Will Rowlands (Dragons), Taine Basham (Dragons), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff), Jac Morgan (Ospreys), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), James Ratti (Cardiff), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Taulupe Faletau (Bath)

Backs: Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff), Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys), Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints), Rhys Priestland (Cardiff), Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Uilisi Halaholo (Cardiff), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby), Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys), Louis Rees-Zammitt (Gloucester), Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets)