I am really looking forward to this weekend as not only is it the start of the Six Nations, but I am also back in action for the Scarlets.
I was released from the Wales squad on Monday back to the Scarlets and this week has gone really well.
I am starting against London Irish and while I am not sure how long I will last, I just cannot wait to get back out there. I am sure after a few hits and runs I will be blowing a bit but I'm looking forward to getting a bit of game time with the Scarlets over the next few weeks and hopefully my pec will stand up to the rigours.
It's been a good couple of weeks in the Wales camp and it was good to catch up with all the boys. They have had a good team run today and are feeling pretty confident.
Everyone is talking about the pressure of making history and winning three consecutive titles in a row but to be honest there is always pressure when you pull on a Wales jersey. This group of players have been together for a few years now and know each other pretty well. The Welsh public expect another championship from us but as Shaun Edwards always says, the more pressure that is heaped upon us, the better we play.
Italy are first up and while many are expecting us to just turn up and win, it does not quite work that way. Italy is always a tricky and tough encounter and they always like to start the tournament with a shock in the first week of the campaign. Gats [Wales head coach Warren Gatland] and the rest of the coaches will have worked really hard to make sure we don't get caught out and look to put in a performance that will hopefully set us up for the rest of the tournament.
Over the last two years the things that have worked for us have been our physicality and playing in the right areas. I want to see us continue in that vein and also keep hold of the ball without making silly mistakes. Those mistakes just end up putting pressure on yourselves and international rugby is tough enough without them. We saw in the first game against Ireland last year how costly mistakes are and we cannot afford to start this year making those sorts of mistakes. We need to make sure we are playing the game on our terms.
I am delighted that Rhys Priestland is starting at 10 for Wales. It is such a competitive position and Dan Biggar and James Hook must be disappointed. Rhys has been in superb form in the last two Heineken Cup games though; he really controlled the game and his kicking out of hand was exceptional too. He has shown all the goods and said to me last week that he is playing the best rugby he has played for a long, long time. He is very confident and that is always good for Wales.
Support for Sam
The off-the-field wrangling still continues to roll on and Sam [Warburton] has had a bit of stick from the rest of the boys in the camp. It's just a bit of friendly banter as we all respect his decision.
At the end of the day he is the captain of Wales and has made the best decision for him and we all should support that. I felt that the best decision for my rugby career was to leave the Scarlets and sign for Clermont. I really think that people need to respect Sam's decision, we really cannot have people on his back for making a decision that he feels is right for him.
I am excited to see him back playing and I expect him to do all his talking on the field. He will show people why he is Wales captain and why he is a world class player.
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