Faletau primed for Six Nations – Blackadder
BATH director of rugby Todd Blackadder reckons that Taulupe Faletau is already in good shape to take his place in the Wales squad for the Six Nations Championship.
The British & Irish Lion has been out for 13 weeks, recovering from a broken arm, but made an instant impact on his comeback in the European Champions Cup win over Wasps on Saturday.
After Faletau made a stunning break from his own half to create Bath’s first try, Blackadder said: “He looked great, didn’t he? Really sharp. If only we could have given him more ball.
“I have to give a big pat on the back to our strength and conditioning staff, for the work they do behind the scenes in getting the guys ready.
“Before the game, he (Faletau) was really, really nervous. But it’s good to see those nerves from an experienced guy like him.”
Asked if Faletau would be ready for Wales’ Six Nations campaign, Blackadder said: “Yes, I think so. They know he’s a class player. He looks spot-on now.
“He’s been training as he always does. He just grows another arm and a leg when he gets out there on the field!”
Blackadder is also hoping to include Jonathan Joseph in his squad for the final Pool One match away to Toulouse next weekend. The England centre has been out for nine months after ankle surgery but was involved in Bath’s warmup drills at the Rec.
“He trained really well this week and is looking very sharp. If he can get through some ‘big load’ days in training next week, he could be good to go.”
Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young refused to focus on a 79th minute penalty at a scrum in analysing his side’s narrow defeat, one that almost certainly consigns them to bottom place in Pool One, even before the final matches.
For Young it was not just the ending that was disappointing.
“Winning would have been a big shot in the arm, but would it have made the performance look a whole lot better? No, it wouldn’t have,” he said.
“There were areas that were disappointing. With the ball, we didn’t look that threatening. We didn’t look like creating much or causing them problems.
“We had ball, we had possession, we had territory. But we didn’t possess that cutting edge to turn that pressure into points. And on the flip side there were two pretty poor tries which were down to simple missed, first-up tackles, which is pretty hard to legislate against.
“There were parts of the game where we were probably on top, but didn’t have control. We tried to push passes which weren’t really ‘on’ and tried to play from areas where we couldn’t play.”
Bath’s Taulupe Faletaubursts forward against Wasps