Josh Adams has confessed his initial ejection from the Wales squad this summer brought on the mother of all hangovers.
The Worcester Warriors wing was at last month’s Aviva Premiership Awards evening when he learnt that the clubs he plays against each week had decided to boot him off the trip to North America to play South Africa.
It was hardly an unpredictable move. Premiership Rugby Limited – the body that represents the English clubs – have long held a collective agreement that they will only release players for international games that fall within the proper Test calendar.
If countries arrange fixtures outside of the official “window” then PRL don’t play ball – unless, of course, you slip them some serious cash as the RFU does every autumn for one unofficial Test.
The Washington encounter fell outside World Rugby’s dates so PRL were well within their rights to refuse to release Adams, as well as Tomas Francis and Luke Charteris.
Strangely, the news of Adams’ absence was released while the player was at last month’s awards do, where he was jointly awarded the league’s top try-scorer award.
It was a night of roller-coaster emotions and the 23-year-old admitted he had plenty to drink as he contemplated what he believed was the end of his tour, even before it had begun.
“It was a great evening for me but then I saw the news had come out about me not being able to go on tour. It made it bitter sweet and I was gutted,” said Adams.
“I was just scrolling through Twitter and that’s when I saw the news had been confirmed. I’d had a few to drink by then so it was one of those where I thought ‘I’ll think about it tomorrow’.
“I just carried on with the night and it made a bit of a sore head even worse.”
But after missing Wales’ 22-20 win over the Springboks, Adams was immediately called up for the two Tests with Argentina following injury to Steff Evans.
His Worcester contract expires at the end of next season and at that point, he will have to return to Wales if he wants to continue playing international rugby as he falls well short of the 60-cap threshold.
“It’s been up and down and then with the politics of things going on above me, I was withdrawn from the tour initially. I was gutted and it hit me for six,” Adams said.
“To be told I wasn’t able to go to America was a massive kick in the teeth for me. All that stuff is all above me. Unfortunately I’ve just got to listen to it, but now I’m buzzing to get back out there and I’ve been given the opportunity to start on Saturday. I can’t wait.”
All four of Wales’ regions are keen on Adams and the former Scarlet added: “I’m under contract for another year and I really enjoy Worcester. They’ve given me an opportunity.
“But what’s happened in the last few weeks does definitely make you think and all those things are going to come into consideration come the end of next year. It was a disappointing time.”
Adams scored 13 tries in the Premiership last season and starts against Argentina, partnering George North on the wing. He is one of eight changes made by Wales head coach Gatland for tonight’s (SAT) game in San Juan which is the first of a two-match series.
Adams made his international bow in the Six Nations, starting the games with Scotland and England. An innate finisher, he is hoping to take inspiration from former Red Rose wing Chris Ashton.
Toulon ace Ashton scored 26 tries for the French giants last season and added a hat-trick for the Barbarians against the country of his birth at Twickenham last month.
Adams said: “I guess finishing is just a natural ability.
“It’s like a taste and I think Chris is a great example of going looking for tries. Some of his tries are awesome finishes, but a lot of them are him just being in the right place. It’s a tough skill in itself.
“He’s scored so many tries this year and it’s something I could learn from.”
Argentina: Boffelli; Delguy, Orlando, De la Fuente, Moyano; Sanchez, Bertranou; Botta, Creevey (capt), Chaparro, Petti, Lavanini, Matera, Kremer, Desio
Replacements: Montoya, Diaz, Medrano, Alemanno, Lezana, Landajo, Gonzalez Iglesias, Cancelliere.
Wales: Amos; Adams, Williams, Parkes, North; Patchell, G Davies; Evans, Dee, Lewis, Beard, Hill (capt), S Davies, J Davies, Moriarty
Reps: Elias, Smith, Francis, Turnbull, Wainwright, A Davies, Anscombe, Watkin.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)