Taulupe Faletau’s return is a huge boost to Wales according to assistant coach Neil Jenkins, who welcomed the return of one their best players.
Back-rower Faletau has been called into Wales’ squad for Saturday’s clash with England, having played 80 minutes in his second game back for Bath after seven months out injured.
The 86-cap Wales No.8 is now in line to make his first appearance of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations, and Jenkins was full of praise for the experienced international.
He said: “He is a class act. We know that. He is a fantastic player, his personality, who he is.
“It is brilliant to have him back. You want your best players available, and he comes into that category.
“We will see how he goes. He has been out for quite some time. We will see how he goes today, and Wayne (Pivac) will make the right call regarding him.
“We will have a bit more about us today in training, and we will see where he is at.
“It is just whether we feel his condition is right to go.”
Both sides found themselves playing catch-up in the 2022 Championship after opening day defeats.
England lost 20-17 in their opener against Scotland while Wales fell to Ireland 29-7 in Dublin.
England bounced back by beating Italy 33-0 in Round 2, while Wales redeemed themselves with a 20-17 win against Scotland.
But despite the crucial game on Saturday, Jenkins insists they will not rush Faletau back into the starting XV.
Jenkins said: “We will have a look at the club games. He has played the two for Bath Rugby, which is important from our perspective. That is massive. 60 minutes and 80 minutes.
“But Test match rugby is a different animal, and we will assess whether he is right or not.
“He has been there and done it. That is what he is all about. He’s played two games for Bath Rugby, but sometimes we’ve had boys coming in who haven’t played any rugby.
“Toby came in yesterday. He has been doing work in the last six weeks to get himself right to play. We know him well, and we will see how he is today.”
Faletau’s last game for Wales came in the 32-30 loss against France at the Stade de France in March 2021 when Brice Dulin’s last-gasp try denied them the Grand Slam.
And with or without the British & Irish Lion, Jenkins is aware of the challenge facing his team.
He added: “It’s a huge game, there’s no doubting that. It’s a massive game. Going to Twickenham is tough.
“We haven’t won there since 2015, and that says it all. They’re a very good side and impressive at home.
“I’m sure they’re looking forward to it, as are we.”