Wales star a man on a mission for club and country after overcoming injury woes

David Skippers
Dewi Lake Ospreys URC 2023 - Alamy.jpg

Ospreys and Wales hooker Dewi Lake.

Ospreys and Wales hooker Dewi Lake is highly motivated to play his part in helping put some joy back into Welsh rugby after returning to action in recent weeks.

The 2023/24 season has been a difficult one for the game in Wales with the international team finishing with the wooden spoon in the Six Nations after suffering a whitewash while three of their regions are lying in the bottom four of the United Rugby Championship (URC) table.

The Ospreys are the only region still in with a chance of making the play-offs with two rounds of matches to go.

And Lake believes there is hope for the future on the international front with the emergence of a number of talented youngsters.

The 25-year-old’s immediate focus is on Saturday’s derby with the Dragons in Swansea – where is set to make his 50th appearance for the Ospreys – and the Judgement Day showdown against Cardiff in two weeks time – matches the Ospreys have to win to stay in the hunt for a top eight finish.

Then the focus will switch to Wales who take on South Africa in a Test at Twickenham next month followed by a tour to Australia.

‘It’s about giving something back’

“It’s about giving something back to the people who support and watch,” a fit-again Lake told the URC media team. “There are a lot of people who put a lot of time into Welsh rugby and want it to do well.

“I think there’s an onus on us as a country, whether it’s regional or international games, to give back to those people who pay to come to grounds and support.

“That’s the important thing, whether it’s in the summer with Wales or here with the Ospreys now.

“It’s our last home game of the season this weekend and it’s about putting in a good performance against the Dragons for the people who pay to watch and want to get joy from watching Welsh rugby.”

After sustaining a hamstring injury in January, Lake, who has won 12 Test caps, watched the Six Nations from the sidelines as Wales suffered the ignominy of losing all five their matches.

“It was obviously tough as a supporter, as a fan, but I am sure it was a lot tougher for the boys involved,” he said.

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“You know the hard work they would have put in week-in, week-out. I was gutted for the boys.

“Results didn’t go the way of the Wales team, but you’ve got the positives of having a young group who are gaining experience at international level.

“You look at some of the boys that came out of it having good campaigns – Cam Winnett, Alex Mann – youngsters having their first taste of international rugby. That’s going to be great for the future of Welsh rugby.”

Lake is hoping to be back involved on the Test scene for Wales’ mid-year internationals.

“It’s always the goal,” he said.

“Selection is not mine to make. I have got to play well in this jersey first and earn the right to hopefully wear the Welsh jersey again.

“I won’t count my chickens before they hatch. There’s a lot to do here first in terms of where we want to be finishing and the goals we have set ourselves.

“But it’s definitely a goal of mine to get back into the red jersey and hopefully be involved this summer.

“There are a couple of interesting games coming up on the international scene, playing two of the best teams in the world, which will be exciting.”

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Battling injuries

It’s been a challenging nine months for Lake fitness-wise, with a knee problem impacting his involvement at the World Cup, where he was co-captain with fellow Ospreys forward Jac Morgan, and then his hamstring injury ruled him out of the Six Nations.

But now he’s back in action, having featured in the Ospreys’ URC losses to the Bulls and Leinster.

“It’s been a tough year injury-wise, it’s never nice to be injured, but it’s part and parcel of the game. It happens to everyone, not just me,” he said.

“It’s about coming back fit and strong and getting back into the swing of things.

“The last two results haven’t been what we wanted, but it’s been a joy to be back on the field with the boys and back playing in an Ospreys jersey.

“You are not going to win every game, but it’s how you bounce back after those losses. They were two tough ones for us against two top four sides.

“We have got two Welsh derbies coming up now.

“Whatever will be will be, I guess, in terms of the play-offs.

“It’s a very competitive league. To get further in it and into post-season stuff would be a great achievement for any team.

“We are fighting for a play-off position and that’s the goal we set at the start of the season.”

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