Navidi ready to shine in first home Test

Date published: November 11 2017

Wales flanker Josh Navidi can’t wait to run out at the Principality Stadium against Australia on Saturday for what will be his first home start for his country.

The Cardiff Blues forward’s previous three international caps were won in Tokyo, Auckland and Apia, but the 26-year-old now finally gets a chance to feature at the home of Welsh rugby.

Navidi starts the meeting with the Wallabies on the openside with Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric out injured, joining Aaron Shingler and Taulupe Faletau in head coach Warren Gatland’s starting back row.

“With the injuries I thought I had a chance and I’m delighted to start,” Navidi told the Welsh Rugby Union’s official website.

“It will be the first time I have played for Wales at home and the first time playing at Principality Stadium in a red jersey instead of a blue one.

“My parents came out to watch my three previous caps, they saw them all. A few close friends are coming to watch on Saturday, so it will be nice having them and my family there.

“Being in the stadium wearing the three feathers is going to be massive.”

Navidi made his Wales debut against Japan in 2013.

Last summer he added two more caps in the wins over Tonga and Samoa and has been rewarded for his consistent performances for Cardiff Blues with selection this weekend.

“I can cover anywhere in the back-row and every year where I play changes,” said Navidi.

“But, as I’ve said, as long as I’m on the pitch I’m happy.

“There were times when the autumn or Six Nations came around and I missed out, but I just concentrated on playing well for the Blues.

“It was obviously a long time from getting my first cap to my second, but hopefully I have broken that barrier now and can keep on getting more caps.

“You go out every week just trying to put your hand up to be selected in the national team which has happened for me this time.”

While Warburton is currently on the sidelines, the British & Irish Lions skipper has proved a huge inspiration to Navidi as a team-mate at the Blues.

“Sam has been massive,” added Navidi.

“We help each other out. He’s played a lot of international games and it’s good to have his knowledge and see how he reads the game.

“He is world class at the breakdown, so anything from him you take on board.”

Navidi and Wales will take on an Australian pack led by captain Michael Hooper.

The Wallabies are well-known for their excellent work at the breakdown,” he added.

“Hooper is obviously world class. He’s been there and done it for a number of years now.

“It’s a big opportunity for me and hopefully we will get the win.”