Callum Sheedy has admitted he is “behind the eight ball already” as he is forced to miss Wales’ autumn curtain-raiser against New Zealand this Saturday.
As Wayne Pivac’s men run out against the All Blacks in Cardiff this weekend, Sheedy will be turning out for Bristol against London Irish at the Brentford Community Stadium given the former was arranged outside of the Test window.
As a result, Sheedy will be starting the autumn campaign on the back foot – with Rhys Priestland and Gareth Anscombe set to have a chance to leapfrog him in the pecking order.
Dan Biggar will also be back for Wales’ second game against South Africa.
Sheedy admitted to BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast that missing out on the chance to face the All Blacks – and the two extra weeks in camp – isn’t ideal.
“As a rugby player, you always want to play against the best players in the world.” he said.
“To face New Zealand and the haka is something I’ve dreamed of. But it’s out of my hands. I could waste a lot of energy thinking about it and certain what-ifs.
“But I can’t play. All my eggs are in the Bristol basket this week. It’s disappointing I can’t play against New Zealand but I need to pick up form and play well again.
“Hopefully I get a crack against them at some point. The biggest thing for me is getting back to my best and getting more selections for Wales.
“Just missing the last few weeks leading up to the All Blacks game, you’re behind the eight ball already.
“Boys have been in the system for two weeks and have been with the coaches. I want Wales to win and hammer the All Blacks so I hope whoever plays fly-half goes well.
“But from a selfish point of view, you’re then thinking you won’t get a sniff. It does go on in your mind. I’m trying to focus on only controlling the controllables, otherwise you start trying to force miracle passes.
“It’s tough but you have to play the best you can and hope Pivac watches and gives you a go.”
Sheedy played a vital role in Wales’ Six Nations victory earlier this year – with cameo appearances against Scotland and England in particular proving crucial to their success.
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And just like Wales had been largely written off before the Six Nations, Sheedy believes captain Alun Wyn Jones will be using the fact that no one is expecting victory over New Zealand to spur them on.
“Everyone will be saying the All Blacks are going to hammer us, but I guarantee you that in that Welsh camp, they’re full of belief,” he added.
“Alun Wyn will have them head-butting walls all week and they’ll be up for it. Everyone can write off the Welsh, but when they’re backs are against the wall, that’s when they come out firing.
“I really think there’s a big performance in there. Hopefully it’s this week and hopefully they can make history.”