Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Faletau plays down Lions chances

Toby Faletau has not been happy with his play in the Six Nations
Toby Faletau has not been happy with his play in the Six Nations

Toby Faletau may be the favourite to wear the British & Irish Lions number eight shirt in Australia this summer, but the Wales back-rower has delivered a surprisingly withering verdict on his current form.

This year's Six Nations has seen the Newport Gwent Dragons man produce some powerful displays with his rampaging ball-carrying abilities, and he appears certain to be included in Warren Gatland's touring party for the trip Down Under.

But Faletau has offered a frank assessment of his form ahead of Wales' meeting with Scotland at Murrayfield this weekend, saying: "I wouldn't say that I am playing well - I'd give myself a five out of 10 for the championship so far. I am just hanging in there and taking each game as it comes."

He added: "I think there is plenty of room for improvement in my game. I just have to keep working hard on all parts of my game.

"My stats are good but that's nothing big. I don't really bother with them too much; they are not always a fair reflection of how things are going."

Another man playing himself into Lions contention is the man Faletau will be up against in Edinburgh this weekend.

Johnnie Beattie has been revitalised by his move to Montpellier at the start of the season and, having overcome his injury problems, is now once again producing his best form.

And if Faletau is unsure of the merits of his own form, he is fulsome in his praise of 27-year-old Beattie.

"He's a really good player, athletic and dynamic. He carries well, quick and powerful," said Faletau.

"I've had this throughout the tournament - they are all big guys and there have been some great challenges. Louis Picamoles has been outstanding for France. He is lethal with ball in hand and is so hard to stop, and I think Beattie has been the same. He is powerful at carrying and in defence."

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