This is the first of a new column exclusive to The Rugby Blog, in which Wales star Toby Faletau will give a first hand account of the goings on in camp over the course of the Six Nations.
The Six Nations tournament always feels like a long time coming and it’s now finally time to see if we can match the feats we’ve managed in the last couple of years. I don’t think any team has ever managed a consecutive hat trick of titles, so we’ve got the opportunity to do something really unique that’ll be remembered for years to come.
We know how important the Six Nations is to rugby fans so it’s only fair that you guys get a bit of an insight into our training regimes and behind-the-scenes goings on throughout the tournament. For us players, competing on the biggest stage is what drives us but it’s the hard work that we do every day that puts us in a position to perform at that level and hopefully this exclusive column for The Rugby Blog will go some way in providing that.
For the past week we’ve all as a team been working up a sweat at the WRU training facility at The Vale in Cardiff, including an intense endurance session in my Under Armour Blur Carbon IV boots. It won’t be long now before I’m out there in the thick of it, tearing it up with the best of the best in the northern hemisphere. It’s fair to say this tournament will be very intense.
We’ve all been working really hard as a team to ensure we’re prepared for the tournament ahead. It’s been a really focused couple of days in the camp for all of us, and the plans are well in place to make sure we can hit the ground running as quickly as possible, starting off against Italy for the first match.
It’s great to have everyone together as a national unit, and it’s also nice to see some of the boys again who are currently out playing their club rugby in France. We really savour playing together as a nation, and it’s such a bonus to have these boys step out on the field next to you. The first few days in camp is the perfect time for us to catch up and get our heads together to get the job done right.
From the minute we met up in Cardiff, we’ve been building momentum ahead of our curtain raiser against Italy. Everyone knows our aim in this tournament is that third Six Nations win. It’s why we’re here. That might be quite a bit away yet, but we must be confident of victory every time we grace the pitch. The roars of our devoted army of fans will definitely help us achieve this goal.
This time, it’s key that we get our campaign off to a perfect start, and then to go on and use the momentum as we head towards the latter stages. As favourites, everyone will be keen to get a result against us and we thrive on that pressure.
First up is Italy, and from previous experience against them we’re all well aware that they have plenty of danger men, with star man Sergio Parisse ever an inspiration to his teammates. Watching someone of his ability, performing like a hero in the same position as myself, he’ll definitely be a handful and we’ll have to be at the top of our games to stop him running riot.
Ultimately, a win is a win and recording a victory in our tournament opener by one point or 20 doesn’t make too much of a difference in our eyes. As they say, it doesn’t matter if you win by a metre or a mile, as long as you win.
This weekend’s game will be the perfect way to begin our title defence and set us on the way to a historic landmark. It’s time to perform.
Column exclusively brought to you by Under Armour athlete and WRU back row forward, Taulupe Faletau.