Toby Faletau told to up his game ahead of Dragons return
TOBY Faletau has been told to “pull his socks up” as the Lions star prepares for a return to action with Newport Gwent Dragons.
The 22-year-old Wales number eight will feature for the Dragons in their RaboDirect Pro12 clash against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday evening.
Faletau sat out the region’s opening day win against Ulster and the back row of Jevon Groves, Nic Cudd and Lewis Evans impressed in his absence.
Fijian powerhouse Netani Talei caught the eye with a cameo off the bench against the Irish province and is set to be given a start against his old club in Edinburgh.
Joining him in the matchday squad will be Faletau, who hasn’t played since starring in the British and Irish Lions’ 41-16 destruction of Australia in the third Test on July 6.
Faletau’s appetite for the game certainly can’t be questioned. He played 35 games last season – 19 for the Dragons, nine Tests for Wales and seven appearances for the Lions.
He earned his summer break but the party’s over for the back rower from Pontypool with his boss telling him to knuckle down after his heroics Down Under.
“Without a shadow of a doubt Toby will be on the field at some stage, whether he starts or comes on,” said director of rugby Lyn Jones.
“Four weeks of rest post-third Test would have been sufficient but Toby, for whatever reason, had five.
“That’s knocked him a little bit and he is not quite in the condition that we’d have liked him to be in. He’s got a lot of work to do on his conditioning and his game.
“That is to be expected – when you’ve achieved things and reached the heights you’ve got to celebrate it, but he’s got to pull his socks up now and knows he has got a bit of work ahead of him.
“I am sure he is going to rekindle his form very quickly.”
The Dragons will be without wing Tom Prydie in Edinburgh after he injured his ankle against Ulster. The Wales speedster should be back in contention for the home game against the Scarlets on Friday, September 20.
Dragons squad: D Evans, M Pewtner, W Harries, R Wardle, H Amos, A Hughes, P Leach, J Dixon, K Burton, J Tovey, R Rees, J Evans, O Evans, P Price, A Coundley, N Williams, R Thomas, H Gustafson, S Parry, D Way, N Buck, F Chaparro, M Screech, A Jones, R Sidoli, I Nimmo, A Coombs, J Groves, N Talei, L Evans, N Cudd, T Faletau, I Jones.