Byrne pining after Wales recall
December 14, 2012
Lee Byrne last lined up for Wales against Fiji © Getty Images
Clermont Auvergne fullback Lee Byrne still harbours hopes of pulling on the Wales shirt despite having not played for Warren Gatland's side since the 2011 World Cup.
The 32-year-old was an integral part of the Wales team that scooped the 2008 Six Nations Grand Slam and is currently one of the in-form fullbacks in the Top 14. But his last game for Wales came over a year ago with Leigh Halfpenny currently in possession of the No.15 shirt.
Byrne starts for Clermont on Saturday against Leinster in the key Heineken Cup clash and while he is still keen on playing for Wales in the future, he admits that he faces a battle to force his way back into the side.
"I've heard nothing really (from the Wales selectors) since before the autumns," Byrne told ESPN. "I hoped I was playing well enough to push for a place in the autumn Tests but it wasn't so. All I can do is keep on putting in performances in the Heineken Cup and in the Top 14 and hope that someone is watching.
"You always want to play international rugby but at the moment I am loving my time at Clermont and if Wales doesn't happen then there's not much I can do about it."
Byrne left the Ospreys for Clermont in the aftermath of the 2011 World Cup and at the time, he reiterated his desire to continue playing international rugby. The thought that the match against Fiji would be his last for Wales, was not on the radar.
"I didn't expect that to be [my final game] but it's looking like it is going to turn out that way. I wanted to go to France and recapture my best form and I've done that, but it's a case of keeping my fingers crossed."
While Byrne will be focused on trying to force his way back into the Wales team for the 2013 Six Nations, with Halfpenny currently sidelined, there is also the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia next summer on his radar. He toured with the famous side in 2009 to South Africa and started the first Test against the Springboks. He is keen to feature again this summer but he claims it is unlikely he will get the nod if he is not in contention for Wales.
"I always thought that you had to play international rugby to go on that tour and it would be a great honour if that worked out," Byrne added. "But first of all I think I need to get back into that Wales side."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games