Rhys Webb has been handed the Ospreys captaincy this weekend as he looks to bounce back from his latest Wales squad rejection.
The 38-times capped scrum-half found himself overlooked by Wayne Pivac after injury to Tomos Williams, with Wales’ coach instead calling up Lloyd Williams.
The decision means Wales now see Lions star Webb as fifth in line at scrum-half at a time when no-one else has exactly nailed down the position.
But the Ospreys have been delighted with the way the 32-year-old has responded to his most recent setback and he will wear the armband for the Guinness PRO14 game with Zebre at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
“Rhys Webb’s going to be my captain,” said coach Toby Booth. “He’s been exemplary in how he’s conducted himself and driven the team around since his exclusion from Wales. In the Connacht game recently he was very, very good during the week and in his performance, and that’s continued.
“He focuses on what he can control. I’m excited about that because through adversity you find out about people.
“So I’m really pleased to see him (respond that way) and I’ve given him the armband for this week.
“He’s embraced it full-on.”
Webb scored two tries in the match with Connacht, securing the man-of-the-match award as the Ospreys came from behind to win.
It’s clear he has much to do to win back the Wales No. 9 shirt, though, with recent comments from Pivac appearing to underline how much he is out of favour.
After being asked about his decision to opt for Lloyd Williams over Webb as back-up to Gareth Davies and Kieran Hardy, the coach said last week: “I think Rhys has talked about not wanting to be a number three and Lloyd is a perfect number three for us.”
That was a reference to comments Webb made during a BBC Scrum V podcast when he said if Wales third choice he would rather be outside of the camp helping out at home.
Quite how much Pivac holds those words against Webb is unclear.
But anyone who spoke to the player during his time in France with Toulon will know how much he missed playing for Wales and what the honour meant to him.
It wouldn’t be the worst idea for Webb to ring Pivac, or vice-versa, for an opportunity to untangle crossed wires.
Nor would a big performance from Webb this weekend exactly hurt his cause.
Asked did he think Webb would play for Wales again, Booth replied: “I hope so. That’s not my decision.
“My job is to get him in the best position to stake a claim, as it was with Adam Beard, Nicky Smith and Owen Watkin.
“So if we’re playing well as a team, his chances will increase.”