Bath boss Todd Blackadder believes Taulupe Faletau is on course to take his place in the Wales squad for the Six Nations Championship.
The British and Irish Lions back-row put 13 weeks on the sidelines with a broken arm behind him during a barnstorming return in an 18-16 win over Wasps in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.
It was Faletau’s stunning break that led to Bath’s first try against their English rivals and an admiring Blackadder said: “He looked great, didn’t he? Really sharp.
“Before the game, he (Faletau) was really, really nervous. But it’s good to see those nerves from an experienced guy like him.”
Asked if Faletau would be ready for the Six Nations, Bath director of rugby Blackadder replied: “Yes, I think so. They know he’s a class player. He looks spot-on now.
“He’s been training as he always does. He just grows another arm and a leg when he gets out there on the field.”
The former New Zealand international also hopes Jonathan Joseph will be fit for Bath’s final pool match away to French giants Toulouse next weekend.
The England centre has been out of action for nine months following ankle surgery but Blackadder said: “He trained really well this week and is looking very sharp. If he can get through some ‘big load’ days in training next week, he could be good to go.”
Meanwhile Welsh joy at Faletau’s comeback was tempered when Dan Biggar left the field just 10 minutes into English club Northampton’s match away to French side Clermont in the second-string European Challenge Cup late on Saturday.
Wales fly-half Biggar, a veteran of 65 Tests, limped off with an apparent leg injury just days before national coach Warren Gatland is due to name his Six Nations squad on Tuesday.
Biggar’s hold on Wales’ No 10 jersey had been challenged by Rhys Patchell and Gareth Anscombe in recent months.
But a fully fit Biggar would still expect to be selected, especially as fellow goalkicker Leigh Halfpenny is set to miss the start of the Six Nations with the concussion the full-back suffered during a Test against Australia in November.
Wales launch the 2019 Championship away to France on February 1, while England are in action the following day with a Dublin date against reigning Grand Slam champions Ireland.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Marisa Kennedy)