Paul James will be back in Wales with Bath this week
Wales prop Paul James is all geared up for his return to Wales this week for the Amlin Challenge Cup Final as he aims to persuade head coach Warren Gatland that he is worthy of a place on the summer tour to South Africa.
James is set to start Friday night's clash with Northampton Saints at the Arms Park for Bath, with a two-Test series with the Springboks on the horizon next month.
The former Ospreys loosehead isn't counting his chickens as far as national selection is concerned but he admits both he and Bath back Gavin Henson would love the chance to wear national colours in South Africa.
"They say South Africa's the toughest place to go and play on tour and as a professional that's where I want to be tested, against the best and in the toughest places. If I'm selected, I'll really look forward to that one," said James.
"Gavin has come in here this season and his leadership and the way he has performed has been great. He's getting back to the Gav of old, who we know can win games and is world-class. I don't see why he doesn't deserve a chance.
"It's always nice to come back to Wales and smell that Welsh air. I've never played in a final in Cardiff…the town is a big party area… it'll be good."
James is hoping his latest trip back across the Severn Bridge will end in silverware as Bath go in search of a first trophy since they picked up a maiden Amlin Challenge Cup crown six seasons ago.
Defeat at Harlequins ended their hopes of Aviva Premiership glory in heartbreaking fashion and European success has now taken on extra meaning as the West Country club look to put some sense into the sacrifices they have made this year.
"With the amount of hard work we've put in this season and the sacrifices we've made, it would be very disappointing if we couldn't take anything out of it," added James.
"I obviously moved to Bath for a change but a big factor in coming to Bath was the ambition the club had: they want to win things and that fitted into everything that I want.
"Our goal was to go through to the play offs but it wasn't to be. We went through the reviews and looked at what we did well and what we did badly but we've put that to bed now. That's gone, we can't dwell on it.
"We know we've got to dust ourselves off quickly because we know what's needed to win finals. Everybody's come back in, regrouped and is now looking forward to the final. The boys are back up and are walking around with heads held high and we're just looking forward to Friday."
James and the rest of the Bath pack are particularly looking forward to another hugely physical battle up front as they lock horns with Saints for the second time in three weeks.
Bath edged the tight exchanges at The Rec on May 2 when the sides drew 19-19 in a domestic nail-biter and the Welsh international is looking for more of the same this time around.
"All season we've worked really hard on our setpiece. Our scrum, lineouts and the breakdown, we've pushed that this season. Every session we train hard and that's not going to change this week.
"Northampton are a great team with a huge pack and usually they dominate so if we can stop them there it's going to help our backs to create a bit out wide.
"We're going to keep focusing on the same things. We worked hard in training on Monday, especially at scrum time, and hopefully we can go into the final on Friday and be dominant."
The unique jeopardy of Judgement Day V has been described by stars from Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons who will face each other in the annual double-header at Principality Stadium on 15th April.
School club hub officers in schools throughout Wales are enriching lives by helping pupils to engage more with their education, their community and improve their own outlook on life and future prospects by improving confidence and developing skills such as leadership.
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips, WRU chairman Gareth Davies and Dragons chief executive Stuart Davies discuss the historic intentions of the governing body to assume operational control of the Newport Gwent Dragons, with a targeted completion date of 1st July.
Equal access to facilities and resources at St Helen's has seen Swansea Women flourish since being welcomed with open arms last July. Swansea RFC chairman Stephen Hughes and women's captain Siwan Lillicrap are delighted to see rapid progress being made on and off the pitch.
Young referee Ben Breakspear is making rapid strides as a referee. In just over a year he has gone from officiating a college game to being a touchline official during last weekend's RBS 6 Nations clash between Wales and Ireland at Principality Stadium.
Grand Slams, Triple Crowns and British and Irish Lions tours - Sir Gareth Edwards did it all. But what are his favourite moments in what was an amazing career? WRU TV finds out - along with his favourite players of today in the third and final instalment of our series with the greatest rugby player ever.
JPR Williams, Gerald Davies and Mervyn Davies were among those in the Welsh ranks when Sir Gareth Edwards began his international career against France nearly 50 years ago, but who was the player who took the young scrum half under their wing?
Wales head coach Rob Howley and captain Alun Wyn Jones are expecting a physical battle against France on Saturday but both are hoping for another impact from the bench as the men in red chase a top-four world ranking.
It's nearly 50 years since the great Sir Gareth Edwards made his debut as a youngster for Wales against France in Stade Colombes. In the first of a series, WRU TV discovers he pocketed a 'special momento' from the game - something he still has today.