Rhys Webb reveals the emotional moment he learned of Wales Six Nations recall and the tears of joy shed

Rhys Webb can’t wait to get back in Wales colours (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency)

There is not much Rhys Webb hasn’t achieved in the game but when he received confirmation of his selection for Wales’ Six Nations squad there were more than a few tears shed.

Joyous ones, it must be stressed.

It has been a long and arduous journey for Webb to regain his place in the Wales squad. For the last few seasons Webb’s omission has baffled the majority of rugby pundits, with his form for the Ospreys demanding selection.

Despite his impressive rugby, he was ignored by Wayne Pivac, but with the return of Warren Gatland Webb has finally got what he deserves.

“I was actually in the house with my wife watching a tennis documentary on Netflix,” “At 11.30am Alex Cuthbert and Gareth Thomas messaged me asking if I’d received an email from Caroline at the WRU. My response was I’m not going to check my emails this time because last time you asked me I checked and there was no email.”

“I knocked my phone off and was getting ready for the official announcement online. I lost track of the time watching this tennis documentary. My Mrs got a message from a friend which caught the corner of my eye. I asked her the question what’s that and she showed me a message saying I was in the squad.

“My heart lifted with excitement and I was over the moon. It’s been a long time since I had a call to be in the squad and the feeling I had was the same one I had when I first got called up in 2012. 

“I found out at 12.10pm after most people because the official email got sent out at 11.30 but I had switched my phone off.”

At 34 years old, Webb could be forgiven for thinking his international days had come to an end but the Ospreys star never lost belief. He admits when his selection finally sunk in it was a very special moment for himself and his family especially his three sons Regan aged 12, Jessie aged seven, and Remi aged four.

“It’s fair to say there were quite a few tears”, he admitted. “Every call you have to the national team is amazing and it’s a very special moment to represent your country.

“This one feels like when I got my first ever call up because I’ve been out of there for so long. My three boys are at great ages to understand. 

“I’ve also had enough of my kids asking me all the time why aren’t I playing for Wales. I can now finally say I’m involved again!”

Webb has been around long enough to realise it is a bad idea to take anything for granted. One of his biggest strengths is his competitive nature and he doesn’t shy away from the fact he would like to wear the number nine shirt against Ireland in Wales’ Six Nations opener, but he is keen to emphasis how much he wants to help develop the other scrum-halves in the squad, Tomos Williams and Kieran Hardy.

“I’m a competitor mate so I want to go in there with a smile on my face and enjoy myself,” said Webb.

“One thing with me I’m always going to work hard. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing with the Ospreys. I want to bring high standards to the squad. When you are on the training pitch it’s an even battle.

“When it’s my opportunity in training to have a go I just need to be ready and do my best. 

“I also want to help the other nines with my experience so if I’m not selected I will do everything in my power to make sure Kieran and Tomos are prepared for the game. At the end of the day we want Wales to win a Grand Slam and the Six Nations.”

With Williams and Hardy at the lower end of the age scale to Webb there is a nice balance about the three number nines Gatland has selected. Webb is confident they can complement each other well and hopes his experience can aid the squad on and off the pitch.

“Box kicking is a strength of mine and it’s about using it when we need to use it,” he said. “We have a lot of young and exciting players who want the ball in hand and for me it’s about encouraging that but also when to slow it down, when to put boot to ball, and bringing a bit of control.

“In international games it’s not going to be on all the time to play exciting open rugby and sometimes we have to find the right balance.”

There is not much Webb hasn’t achieved in his career. The Ospreys man has won 36 caps for Wales, played a Test match for the British & Irish Lions in 2017, and has played his club rugby for Toulon, but one thing missing from his CV is a Rugby World Cup appearance.

Webb was cruelly denied a place in the 2015 tournament when he sustained a knee injury in one of the warm-up Tests, while he was ineligible for the 2019 competition due to the 60 cap law.

Having had so many setbacks in his career the man from Bridgend is cautious when it comes to chatting about the World Cup, while he is respectful of the quality of scrum-halves in Wales. But he admits playing in the global; showpiece is a burning desire of his.

“I had an opportunity in 2015 and I could have gone into that World Cup as first choice scrum-half but it’s professional rugby and injuries happen,” he said

Original article here

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