Ospreys flanker Ben Lewis says his target this season is to cement a place in the regional first fifteen, after spending the past fourteen months watching from the stands.
Lewis, who impressed with three tries from his 16 starts in the 2007/8 campaign underwent reconstructive surgery to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in April last year. However predictions of a six month lay off were more than doubled when complications lead to further hospitalisation for the 22-year-old.
Now fully fit and enjoying being a part of pre-season training with the squad, Lewis is keen to put his injury troubles behind him "I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now. I've been out for longer than a year and I've had quite a tough time of it but it's good to be back in full training and getting the ball in hand. I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of playing again."
After impressing in the 2007/8 season Lewis was being tipped to follow in the footsteps of fellow Academy products James Hook, Alun-Wyn Jones and Ian Evans into the national set-up, only for the injury to abruptly halt his progress. Looking ahead to the new season, And Lewis now says his target is to force his way back into the reckoning at the Ospreys. But the road to recovery has been long and winding, as Lewis explains. "When you suffer an injury you quickly focus on the return date and put all your efforts into meeting your targets along the way, and I was looking at six month lay-off, coming back in November or December last year. The initial op went well and it was all coming along nicely, but five months or so into it when I was just about to step it up I started suffering problems, It was the same symptoms as pre-op, I knew it wasn't right and had to seek medical help. "Now I want to get back playing as many games as I can in an Ospreys shirt, it's as simple as that. I want to try and carry on where I left off in April last year, it's difficult to target anything else given the length of time I've been out. I had a taste of regional rugby a couple of seasons ago and I was starting to build up a reputation for myself and now I have to do it all over again. I can't think about anything else, or pay attention to anything that's said or written about me coming back, the only thing I have to answer to is my own expectations. And the signs so far are good for Lewis, who said: "I've had a full pre-season, taken as much a part as anyone else, so hopefully I will be involved in the games against Leeds and Gloucester, and we'll see where I am then. I may be ready to go from there, or the coaches and physio's may think that I need a bit more game time under my belt before being considered for selection in competitive matches for the Ospreys."
Principality Stadium will host the UEFA Champions League Final in six weeks' time. WRU chairman Gareth Davies, Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford and Ambassador Ian Rush joined young sports fans at the trophy arrival at the venue to celebrate the magnitude of the event on Saturday 3rd June (kick-off 19.45).
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.