Confidence has soared insists Faletau
WALES’ heroic victory over France has done wonders for morale ahead of their clash with Italy in Rome, says Newport Gwent Dragons star Toby Faletau.
A shock 16-6 triumph in Paris last weekend halted a terrible run of eight straight defeats threatening to eclipse the dark days of Steve Hansen’s reign.
Before beating France, much talk centred on Wales being on the brink of equalling that barren period a decade ago.
Ten games were lost on the bounce before they stopped the rot with a 54-8 success of Romania at the Racecourse in Wrexham during a 2003 World Cup warm-up.
The fickle nature of sport now has some speculating the possibility of last year’s Grand Slam champions even holding on to their Six Nations title.
Dragons number eight Faletau, 22, was delighted Wales got the monkey off their backs after a bruising victory over the French.
“It was great to get that win, to finally get a good result,” he said. “It was a tough, brutal battle but we were just glad to come away with that victory – it was a relief to get a win.”
Faletau has been in fine form during this Six Nations and the Tonga-born back rower hopes Wales can build on their hard-earned success against the Azzurri next Saturday.
“I was very disappointed to lose against Ireland but hopefully we can build on our victory over France,” he said.
“I’ve never played away against Italy and I’m expecting a similar game to the one in Paris. I think it’s going to be a very physical.”
Faletau, who will win his 24th cap against Italy, admitted victory has given the team a huge lift and the belief that they can retain the Six Nations this season, although they aren’t getting ahead of themselves just yet.
“Winning makes such a difference,” he said. “Coming in on Monday for training, the atmosphere was better already compared to the week before after losing to Ireland.
“We think it (winning the Six Nations) is still on but we’ve got to take each game as it comes.”