Taulupe Faletau: Lions could pick Wales forward as flanker, says Martyn Williams

Taulupe Faletau in action for Bath against Gloucester
Taulupe Faletau joined Bath from Newport Gwent Dragons in 2016

Taulupe Faletau could line-up at blindside flanker alongside Billy Vunipola and Sam Warburton in Tests for the British and Irish Lions this summer, says Martyn Williams.

Faletau scored a hat-trick and was man of the match in Bath's 44-20 win over Gloucester on Sunday.

And Ex-Lion Williams believes the tourists could benefit from the Wales number eight's return to full fitness.

"Some people questioned him being selected which is ridiculous," he said.

Faletau did not start for Wales in the 2017 Six Nations in an injured-disrupted season.

But the former Newport Gwent Dragons back-rower has been named man-of-the-match in three matches for Bath since the end of the tournament and was outstanding against Gloucester.

"He's world class and it goes to show how well Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric and Sam Warburton were playing to keep him out of the Wales team," added Williams on BBC Wales' Scrum V programme.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up playing at six and Vunipola at eight and then Warburton at seven.

Wales' 2017 British and Irish Lions
Faletau is one of 12 Wales internationals in the 2017 Lions touring party

"I think that's something [Lions coach Warren] Gatland would look at.

"He's got all the skills Taulupe, and it's a real bonus for the Lions that he's fit and firing."

Faletau was an ever-present at number eight for Wales between the 2011 World Cup until the autumn of 2016.

A knee injury curtailed his involvement in the autumn international series when Moriarty impressed when he was drafted-in as cover.

A recurrence of the injury meant Faletau missed Wales' opening Six Nations game against Italy and he was named on the bench for the remaining four matches.

England number eight Vunipola is Faletau's cousin, and played schoolboy rugby in Gwent alongside his brother Mako - also in the Lions squad - and the Wales international.

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