Wales: Rhys Webb inspired by football greats Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Test return
Rhys Webb is taking inspiration from football greats Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo after his recall to Wales’ Six Nations squad following two years in the Test rugby wilderness.
The 34-year-old is on course to win his first Test cap since November 2020 after earning his recall with his form with the Ospreys.
Joy to be back
Webb has represented Wales 36 times, 31 under Warren Gatland, and featured on just five occasions during Wayne Pivac’s 34-Test reign as head coach.
“It has obviously been a long time out of the international set-up, and it is an absolute joy to be back,” Webb said.
“It’s like when I first got called up in 2012 with the goosebumps. The feeling has all come back to me, and I am just loving every day being in camp with the boys.
“I am a competitor and believe in myself and my ability. I never once wrote it off.
“I am obviously over the moon and delighted to be back, but for me personally, this is where I feel I belong.
“I have still got that fire in my belly, and every time I put that Welsh jersey on, it fills me with pride.”
Gatland’s squad has a healthy mix of experience and youth, with Webb being one of the more seasoned campaigners, with his international carer spanning over the last ten years.
The likes of Dan Biggar, Ken Owens, Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric are all over the age of thirty.
“We know we can’t go on forever, but we know what we need to do for our bodies to be in the best possible way and thrive in international rugby,” Webb added.
“It is credit to the boys for keeping themselves fit and healthy for a long time.
“For me personally, I look at the football boys like Ronaldo and Messi, who are still playing in World Cups at 37 and 35. If they can do it, we can do it.”
Webb was largely overlooked during the Pivac era despite displaying some solid form with Ospreys, but he says that he never gave up on the chance to represent his country again.
“You are obviously disappointed at the time, but I have never let it get to me,” Webb said.
“Even when I am not picked in the Welsh squad, I’ve got a job to do. I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world, playing rugby.
“The Ospreys pay my wages, so I have to go out there and perform. Playing is a release for me, and that is what I do best.
“It has been a disappointment not to make squads, but I have been enjoying myself playing week in, week out, and now to be back is great.”
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