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Navidi relishing Wales start on home soil

10th November 2017

Josh Navidi is relishing the opportunity to run out at the Principality Stadium in the red of Wales as he prepares for his first start on home soil.

The Cardiff Blues back-row powerhouse has been a picture of consistency on the regional scene for several years and has become a firm favourite at the Arms Park.

That has not always translated into international selection, with Navidi’s three caps to date coming in Tokyo, Auckland and Apia during Lions tours.

But following an impressive summer he has retained his place in Warren Gatland’s autumn squad and will pull on the number seven jersey against Australia tomorrow.

“With the injuries I thought I had a chance and I'm delighted to start," Navidi told the WRU.

“It will be the first time I have played for Wales at home and the first time playing at Principality Stadium in a red jersey instead of a blue one.

“My parents came out to watch my three previous caps, they saw them all. A few close friends are coming to watch on Saturday, so it will be nice having them and my family there.

“Being in the stadium wearing the three feathers is going to be massive.

“I can cover anywhere in the back-row and every year where I play changes. But, as I've said, as long as I'm on the pitch I'm happy.

“There were times when the autumn or Six Nations came around and I missed out, but I just concentrated on playing well for the Blues.

“It was obviously a long time from getting my first cap to my second, but hopefully I have broken that barrier now and can keep on getting more caps.

“You go out every week just trying to put your hand up to be selected in the national team which has happened for me this time.”

While Warburton is currently on the sidelines, the British & Irish Lions skipper has proved a huge inspiration to Navidi as a team-mate at the Blues and the competition has driven him on.

“Sam has been massive. We help each other out. He's played a lot of international games and it's good to have his knowledge and see how he reads the game,” Navidi said.

“He is world class at the breakdown, so anything from him you take on board.”

Navidi and Wales will take on an Australian pack led by captain Michael Hooper. The Wallabies are well-known for their excellent work at the breakdown but Navidi, who has been more accustomed to playing on the blindside or at number eight in recent seasons is relishing the challenge.

“I'm up against Michael Hooper and he’s obviously world class and been there and done it for a number of years now. It’s a big opportunity for me. Hopefully I can do one on him on the weekend and we will get the win.

“It was obviously a long time from getting my first cap to my second cap. Hopefully I have broken that barrier now and can keep on getting more caps.”