IT’S not just Lions hopefuls that face a nervous wait and Ollie Griffiths hopes that the reward for a stellar season with Newport Gwent Dragons is a first international call-up.
Warren Gatland’s group will be put out of their misery at midday but the Dragons flanker, previously denied the chance to mix it with Wales stars by a wrist injury, must wait a little longer to learn his fate.
The 22-year-old from Newbridge is pushing hard for selection for the summer tour that will pit Wales against Samoa and Tonga.
Griffiths has been a success story from a challenging 2016/17 for the Dragons and his claim for a Test call-up was aided by a man of the match performance against the Scarlets in front of a packed Principality Stadium last weekend.
The flanker, who has a preference for openside but has lately been playing blindside, is one of a glut of back row forwards looking to get a chance while Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau are on Lions duty.
It will be a surprise if Griffiths is not named by Robin McBryde when the interim Wales coach names his squad next week but the Dragons flanker isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“I don’t really try to think that far ahead, I just take it week by week. If that was to happen it would be great but all you can do is concentrate on playing well,” said Griffiths.
“After the Under-20s (in 2015) me and one or two of the other boys were invited to go along but unfortunately I sprained my wrist. It would be great to be involved but I’ve just got to wait and see what happens.
“It’s out of my control, if it does happen then that would be great. If not then I’ve just got to keep improving and there are loads of great players – Ellis Jenkins, James Davies, Will Boyde, Sam, Tips and a lot more.”
Griffiths has played in 20 games this season, 18 of those appearances being starts, and feels he has flourished thanks to time in the middle.
“I was unfortunate last season to miss a large portion of the season with a hamstring injury but I’ve played a lot of rugby this year and that’s what I needed,” he said.
“A run of games has helped my game come on leaps and bounds. It’s been good to be playing at the top level every week and get experience; no amount of training can compare to matches.”
If Griffiths is to head off for Wales duty in May then he wants to head to the Vale of Glamorgan headquarters with a spring in his step.
The Dragons have a weekend off while the semi-finals of the European competitions are played this weekend before a clash with ninth-placed Edinburgh a week on Friday and a season finale against Cardiff Blues in Caerphilly on Saturday, May 6.
“We’ve got two more games left and want to finish well to do better than last season,” said the flanker, with the Dragons currently on the same number of wins (four) as 2015/16 and five points shy of last terms 26 tally.
“Edinburgh is going to be massive for us and we touched on that in the changing room after the Scarlets. If we win then we go above them, so that’s going to be a big focus in training.”