Owen Watkin is relishing his return to the international fold after being included in the starting XV for Wales’ Guinness Six Nations clash against Scotland.
The 25-year-old has 26 international caps but missed out on selection for both Wales’ Test series against Argentina and the Autumn Nation Series last year.
However a string of impressive displays for Ospreys means that Wayne Pivac has brought him back into the international fold, and he came off the bench in the defending champions’ 29-7 loss to Ireland last weekend.
After it was confirmed that he would start at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, Watkin revealed that he was grateful to be back involved after taking advice from Pivac and his coaching staff.
And he also said that Wales and Ospreys teammate Adam Beard’s return to international rugby was also an inspiration.
He said: “I’m just grateful to be back in the squad. Wayne, Stephen [Jones] and Gethin [Jenkins] gave me work-ons to do and I feel I’ve implemented them into my game at the Ospreys.
“They’ve stuck to their word and picked me in the squad. I’ve worked hard on aspects of my game and it’s come through now.
“Beardy (Adam Beard) was a prime example for me. He wasn’t picked in the Autumn and then he was a Lion by the next Autumn. He’s someone who got left out and was disappointed, but that character and determination to work hard got him back.
“I followed in his footsteps and I’m fortunate to now be back in the squad.”
Watkin will start in the No.13 shirt against Scotland and will play alongside Nick Tompkins in Cardiff.
The two do not have much experience of playing alongside each other, but the 25-year-old feels he will be able to form a strong partnership with the Saracens star.
“Nick’s a great player. For Sarries, he plays a lot at 12,” said Watkin.
“We get on and it’s the sort of combination where you’ve got to click quickly, otherwise it’ll be a tough day at the office. Training’s gone well this week and we’re looking forward to putting on a show on Saturday.
“Wayne and Stephen told me I needed more positive moments with the ball which I agreed with. I’m pretty solid in defence, but I needed more flair in attack.
“Playing for the Ospreys this year, I’ve got my hands on the ball a lot more. I feel I’ve delivered what they’ve asked for which has given me the chance to get back into the squad.”