Taulupe Faletau Wales

NANTES, FRANCE - OCTOBER 07: Taulupe Faletau of Wales waves as he walks around with his arm in a sling following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Wales and Georgia at Stade de la Beaujoire on October 07, 2023 in Nantes, France. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

“Rolls Royce” Taulupe Faletau Is Ready To Cruise Back Into Lane For Cardiff And Wales

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By Gareth James

Taulupe Faletau is poised to return from injury for Cardiff this weekend – providing a huge boost to Wales’ hopes of picking themselves up off the floor this summer.

The peerless Lions No.8 has not played since breaking his arm at the World Cup six months ago.

He appeared to have recovered from that setback, only to suffer a calf injury which ruined his hopes of coming back for the Six Nations.

But Cardiff coach Matt Sherratt has suggested Faletau is set to make his long-awaited comeback for the capital city region’s visit to Ulster on Friday night in the United Rugby Championship.

“We have one training session left but Toby will be in and around it this week which is brilliant. He is a Rolls Royce, he is out there running around and gets the best out of players,” said Sherratt.

“It’s credit to him because it’s been a long route back and he has had to show character and resilience.

“He does not say a huge amount but he seems to have kept the love of playing rugby.

“I am sure he has found it hard. He knows what he wants, he is a good professional and he knows his body and mind, so you kind of let him do his thing.”

https://twitter.com/BBCScrumV/status/1780239767151514059

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, will be aiming to return to form before the summer tour to Australia.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost several senior players in the last 12 months, including Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb, who all retired from international rugby.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin earned caps for Wales, while Aaron Wainwright filled the national number eight role.

“It is brilliant for him to be back for Toby and the rest of the group,” Sherratt added.

“It’s credit to him because it’s been a long road back and he has had to show character and resilience.

“He does not say a huge amount but he seems to have kept the love of playing rugby.

“I am sure he has found it hard. He knows what he wants, he is a good professional and he knows his body and mind, so you kind of let him do his thing.”

Sherratt believes Faletau is one of the best players ever to wear the Welsh jersey.

“The sign of any good player in sport when you watch people like a Roger Federer or a Lionel Messi, they have time on the ball,” he said.

“I am putting Toby in this category, and he would hate this, but he has time on the ball and everything he does looks comfortable. He has that rare commodity that I can only dream of that the game seems to go in slow motion for him.”

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