Work ethic has got us back in contention, says Toby Faletau
TOBY Faletau has hailed Wales’ work ethic in ensuring that the Six Nations title is within tantalising reach – claiming success would be an achievement up there with last year’s Grand Slam.
A seven-point victory for Rob Howley’s side would not only deny England a clean sweep but would make sure that the trophy stays in Cardiff.
It’s a situation that few believed was possible on the opening day when Wales trailed Ireland 30-3 on their way to an eighth successive Test defeat.
But the resilience shown to cut the gap on the Irish at the Millennium Stadium combined with three defensive clean sheets on their way to victory in Paris, Rome and Edinburgh has given them a shot.
“After the first game the title seemed a long way off but the boys have done brilliantly to get back in contention,” said Newport Gwent Dragons number eight Faletau.
“It’s been great to turn it around after eight Test defeats in a row and that is credit to the boys for the hard work that they have done.
“I think it would be up there with last year if we could retain the title after the way things were after Ireland and how much it has needed to turn it around.
“But for now we are just trying to get that win but it’s going to be a hard job to stop England.”
A tight battle is expected in the capital and the visitors are likely to call on an impact replacement that Faletau knows all about in the closing stages.
His cousin Mako Vunipola will be called from the bench to add some oomph to England’s front row in the second half.
Faletau is looking to avoid an unwanted family hat-trick after twice being downed by fellow number eight Billy Vunipola, an uncapped member of England’s squad, when the Dragons and Wasps locked horns in the Amlin Chall-enge Cup earlier this season.
And the Tonga-born man in red knows that the Tonga-born man in white will deliver for his adopted nation tomorrow.
“Mako has been great coming off the bench for England and I think he did brilliantly on his first start against Italy,” said Faletau.
“It’s been great to see him doing so well and I am sure his coaches just want him to do the same again tomorrow.
“If he does come off the bench and I am still on the pitch then it will be a great occasion for both of us and our families, and also all of the Tongans in the UK.
“I’m sure they will show their support for both of us.”