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Francis celebrates 50th cap after long journey back

Francis celebrates 50th cap after long journey back

Francis celebrates 50th cap after long journey back

While he may not have got the result to go with it, prop Tomas Francis has revealed his joy at claiming his 50th Wales cap after returning from long-standing injury troubles.

The 28-year-old tighthead missed a year of international action after he suffered a serious shoulder injury in the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa.

But an encouraging return to action the end of club side Exeter’s season saw him immediately return to the Wales fold, where he has been a virtual ever present since making his debut in 2015, in their final 2020 Guinness Six Nations contest against Scotland.

That appearance set up the landmark achievement against Ireland in their Autumn Nations Cup opener which, despite the result not going the way he would have liked, filled the York-born man with immense pride.

“It’s bittersweet for me,” Francis said. “The performance wasn’t there but, as far as the achievement goes, it’s happened so quick for me and I never thought I’d be here.

“I’m ecstatic to achieve it but the performance isn’t what I wanted with it.

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“The result takes a bit away from the day but I think I’ll look back in a few weeks’ time and, for me, I’ve had my first major injury setback then come back and gone well with Exeter.

“For this to cap it off is amazing for me personally. I’d have preferred the result to go with it but I’m happy to come back from injury and still be where I am.”

Of course, the necessary nature of professional sport being played behind closed doors at the moment meant that Francis could not share his special day with friends and family in attendance.

However, those nearest and dearest to Francis all still found a way to celebrate his landmark occasion from a distance.

He added: “My dad was round his uncle’s, who lives on his own, so he’s joined with them and he was watching back there, my missus was back at home in Cardiff watching.

“[It was a] shame they can’t be here but they’d have been cheering me on and I think they were on Zoom for the song so they got to see that as well.”

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