Navidi bounces again to brink of Grand Slam

Wales flanker Josh Navidi has performed 27 internationals since his debut in 2013
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Saturday, 20 March Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Protection: Dwell on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, 5 Dwell, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport web site and app, S4C
Highlights: Scrum V, Sunday, BBC Two Wales, 21 March, from 19:00 GMT and in a while demand

Wales’ renaissance below Wayne Pivac in 2021 has shocked many. It has additionally coincided with Josh Navidi’s return to health.

Maybe it’s no accident that now the Cardiff Blues back-row enforcer is match and firing after a four-month break due to concussion, a rejuvenated Wales are getting ready to a Grand Slam.

The 30-year-old solely performed one worldwide in 2020, when Wales misplaced seven out of 10 matches.

A hamstring harm restricted him to that solitary look in opposition to England within the Six Nations 12 months in the past earlier than a head knock suffered in a Blues coaching session final August dominated him out of the autumn marketing campaign.

These 4 months on the sidelines additionally proved an vital interval in Navidi selecting to assist spotlight concussion points, when he was amongst main rugby figures final month calling for reform to guard gamers’ wellbeing.

A bunch referred to as Progressive Rugby need adjustments to deal with the difficulty of great head and mind harm and say extra must be executed to tell mother and father in regards to the danger of mind harm from repeated head knocks.

Navidi was essentially the most high-profile present participant to signal an open letter to World Rugby.

“It is all about participant welfare and the continued analysis they’re seeking to obtain,” he stated.

“It is good to place my title to it and help them. The extra analysis we are able to do the higher to learn the longer term generations of the sport, which incorporates supporters and gamers. It is one thing which shall be optimistic for the sport.”

Navidi added: “I’ve had concussion up to now. You understand if you’re able to be out on the park.

“You undergo a long-winded technique of ticking bins. It is good to be again on the pitch.

“I had somewhat little bit of a headache, however that was coming from my neck which was a decent muscle.

“I may have presumably been again sooner, however these items add up and you do not know what is going on on.

“It is a studying curve and no person is aware of precisely what the fitting approach is. Everybody’s concussion is completely different.

“I used to be out for some time, but it surely was good to be again and concerned on this group.”

For a number of years, Navidi was ignored by Wales regardless of his rampant regional kind. Now he has proved he’s a take a look at match animal by returning to the worldwide stage after just one substitute look for his area.

After a formidable Wales substitute show in opposition to Eire – earlier than lacking the Scotland sport with a neck harm – Navidi excelled in opposition to England and picked up the man-of-the-match award in opposition to Italy.

He has additionally shaped a well-balanced and formidable back-row trio alongside in-form British and Irish Lions duo Taulupe Faletau and Justin Tipuric.

“I get pleasure from it,” stated Navidi.

“Taking part in with Toby and Justin is nice and we feed off one another. The workload is shared throughout the back-row and so they’re world-class gamers. Each time I get to play with them, I embrace it.”

France stand in the best way of Wales finishing a second Grand Slam in three tournaments.

“They’re large, robust males with an enormous and bodily pack and a great driving line-out,” stated Navidi.

“That is been proven by this championship and the best way they have been performing and it is thrilling to go on the market on Saturday with all of it to play for.”

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