Men Behind the Tour: No.12 – Toby Faletau

No-one carried the ball more than Toby Faletau on the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia this summer. [more]

Men Behind the Tour: No.12 – Toby Faletau

No-one carried the ball more than Toby Faletau on the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia this summer.

The Welsh No.8 was always a willing worker, dominating the mid-week clashes, making his case and biding his time for selection for the Test team.

Jamie Heaslip was preferred for the Brisbane and Melbourne Tests but the Welshman was finally given his chance to shine in Sydney.

Slotted into the starting line-up, Faletau did not waste his opportunity in an eye-catching performance that included a key second-half turnover that helped the Lions seal a first series win in 16 years.

Overall Faletau made 67 carries on Tour and beat 23 defenders, topping the charts in both and the 22-year-old was delighted with how his Tour turned out.

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“The Lions was the highlight of my career so far,” said Faletau.

“Just to get selected for the third Test was a high and to play and win the final game is a feeling I just can’t explain.

“The Australians have been such a hard side to play against over the past couple of years, so to win after narrowly failing so many times with Wales was special.”

And Lyn Jones, Faletau’s coach at club side the Dragons, is convinced the 22-year-old will be an even more dominant force when Britain and Ireland’s elite head to New Zealand in 2017.

“Toby is still young. You tend to see the best of players in their mid-to-late 20s when they have the knowledge behind them and more empathy for the game," said Jones.

"I have seen that with the likes of Ryan Jones, Shane Williams and Alun Wyn Jones. “Toby had a dip in form last winter but has returned to become the leading No8 in the northern hemisphere.” 

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