Josh Turnbull could not hide his delight after being named in Warren Gatland's Guinness Six Nations squad.
The Cardiff Blues utility forward has been rewarded for his fine form this season, after featuring in every minute of the campaign before of last week’s Heineken Champions Cup clash in Glasgow.
After featuring in tours to South Africa, New Zealand and the Americas in recent years, Turnbull, who has won 10 international caps since his debut against Scotland in 2011, is excited to experience a ‘home campaign’ once again.
“I’m chuffed to bits, because I haven’t been involved in a home campaign for quite some time now,” said the 30-year-old.
“I was thinking back to my last Six Nations game, and it was back in 2011 I think, so it’s been a long time.
“I’ve been to South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and USA, but I’m one of those guys that keep plugging away. I’m never going to give up on any opportunity to play for Wales.
“At the moment, I think that having a good run of games for Cardiff Blues has helped my cause.
“I’m still a little bit nervous and excited to go into camp, and it’s been 10 years since I first went in, for the tour to North America, but I had to wait until 2011 for my first cap.
“If they’re looking for a versatile player, then hopefully that will give me a nudge and extra ticks. There’s not many players in Wales who can cover those positions, and I’m doing it week-in, week-out.”
However, before his attention turns to international duty, Turnbull is fully focused on Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash against Lyon, and hopes Wales’ Capital Region can finish their European campaign on a high.
The former Scarlets forward said: “As a team, we want to finish with a bang. We’re out of the competition but we’ve shown that we can hold our own at times during the campaign.
“We want to finish at home with a win and show that we can be competitive in Europe.
“Our focus then will move to the PRO14, so we can qualify for the top competition in Europe again next year.
“Lyon are a strong team, we know that, and the depth they have they could probably pick three strong teams to go out to play and be competitive.
“For us, it’s about finishing strong and whenever we take that field it’s about showing pride in our performance, attitude and in the shirt.
“When you go into these European weeks, the intensity levels in training shoot up, and everyone around the building is bouncing.
“I remember the first week of this campaign, where we were playing Lyon away, and everyone was looking forward to that first Champions Cup game, which is something we haven’t been involved in during my time here.
“I remember when I used to be at the Scarlets and Stephen Jones always said during European weeks that the intensity goes up in training, the level of detail goes up, you’re playing against some of the best sides and players in Europe and you really have to buy into it.
“There’s a real buzz around these games. Obviously things haven’t gone the way we wanted them to, but what we’re eager to do is qualify through the PRO14 again and make sure we’re back here next year.
“We need to play Connacht twice, and we’ll play Ospreys again, so those games will be huge for us.
“When international players are away is when you really rely on your squad and you want those younger players to come through and really flourish for you in order to get those wins which would push you up the table.”