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Taulupe Faletau relishing Wales return after making comeback from injury

Bath No 8 Taulupe Faletau is looking forward to reporting for duty with Wales on Monday and a likely return to international action against South Africa next weekend.

After an agreed 55-minute comeback in a 16-9 win over Bristol, a relaxed Faletau declared himself fit for duty after 10 weeks out with a medial knee ligament strain.

"It was good to be out there. I'd have liked it to be longer," he said. "I'm going back in on Monday, after seeing how the boys get on tomorrow."

Reflecting on his rehabilitation and carefully managed return, he said: "It's been good from my point of view. The coaches at both Bath and Wales have been in contact with each other and that has kept things going smoothly.

"If I'm required next week, I'll be happy to give it a crack."

Bath coach Todd Blackadder was happy to see Faletau come through without mishap, saying: "I thought he was really solid without being outstanding. He did the basics really well. It was good to see him get through those minutes, wasn't it?"

Asked whether he thought Faletau would be ready to face South Africa, he said: "I think that will be the plan but that will be Wales's call. He came through the game really well. He's a world-class player and he just needed to get those minutes under his belt for his confidence. He'll be better for the run."

Blackadder confirmed that fly-half Rhys Priestland had suffered an injury to his right knee, only weeks after recovering from a similar injury. "I don't know what is wrong but it doesn't look great. It looks serious."

On Bath's performance, Blackadder's feeling was one of relief: "I don't think there was any lack of trying, just probably a lack of execution and discipline around line-outs, scrums and breakdown.

"Overall it's a sense of relief rather than we really nailed it. A lack of combinations probably showed. When you are mixing your 12, 13 and 14 every week it takes its toll in tight games like this and you haven't got the continuity. That will come."

He added: "It's disappointing that we played the game in the right part of the field in the second half but couldn't capitalise and take the game beyond seven points. Then at the end I thought it could go any way.

"Our defence has been outstanding all season. We just need to get some continuity in our attack and put sides under pressure. We lost the possession stakes. In the first 10 minutes we made 40 tackles and in the end that takes its toll.

"We couldn't buy a trick at the breakdown but our efficiency and breakdown wasn't there."

Bristol's acting head coach Mark Tainton said: "We were disappointed not to win the game or get a draw at the end but, as we know, every point is crucial in the position we're in.

"In the changing room everyone is very disappointed. We fought for each other, even when we went down to 14 men. At the end we were very close to getting a draw. We'll take the bonus point but we came for more."


From Belfast Telegraph