Taulupe Faletau's comeback game ends in disaster, career could come to sad end - Ruck

Taulupe Faletau’s comeback game ends in disaster, career could come to sad end

Wales powerhouse Taulupe Faletau’s long-awaited comeback with Cardiff took a tragic turn on Friday night as he faced another setback against Ulster.

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The Welsh star endured a nightmare with a broken arm during Wales’ clash with Georgia in the 2023 World Cup. This was followed by a frustrating spell on the sidelines during the Six Nations due to a calf injury.

Faletau finally returned to action for Cardiff in a heated encounter against Ulster in the United Rugby Championship. However, his hopes were dashed when he was forced off the pitch in the 30th minute, clutching the same arm that had troubled him before.

The 33-year-old’s unfortunate exit has left Cardiff head coach Matt Sherratt anxiously awaiting news on his condition. Sherratt expressed hope that it’s not a recurrence of the previous injury, emphasizing that Faletau had invested significant effort in his recovery over the past several months.

“It’s a worrying situation,” Sherratt stated. “He’s undergoing assessment for a knock on his shoulder, and we’re in the dark about the severity of the injury at the moment.”

Despite the setback, Sherratt rallied behind his player, expressing his disappointment for Faletau and reassuring that the team would offer their support during this difficult time.

“I am gutted for Toby,” Sherratt added. “I’m sure the boys will rally around him and provide the support he needs.”


Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia), replaced by Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)

Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.”

Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.

“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”

Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand), replaced by Owen Farrell (England)

Owens praised Farrell as a player on numerous occasions.

On one occasion he wrote: “I can only speak from my own experience of refereeing him and, when I did, he was an excellent captain to deal with.

“I have a huge amount of respect for him as a player and a person. He always knew where the line was with me.

“I would say to him that he could always come and talk to me as long as it was at the right time and in the right tone and he always did that.”

Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)

Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.

“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”