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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2006, 17:25 GMT
Front-row battle enthuses Horsman
Chris Horsman
Horsman impressed in winning four caps before injury struck
Prop Chris Horsman says he is ready to make his case for a place in Wales' ultra-competitive front row.

The Worcester tight-head, 28, missing since last winter with an ankle injury, was denied a bench spot against Australia by a club v country argument.

But he is expected to start in Cardiff on Saturday as Wales shuffle their side for the Pacific Islands Test.

"The front row were excellent last week, if I get chance I have to step up and show what I can do," said Horsman.

"I've got my form and my fitness back, and now I've got another challenge.

"The competition in the front row is fantastic at the moment and it's bringing the best out of the boys.

I've been stopped from playing rugby for various reasons, like injuries and cancer, and to be caught up in something which I had no control over was devastating

Chris Horsman

"Look at the way Gethin [Jenkins] is playing now and Adam [Jones] is playing fantastically.

"So if Duncan [Jones] and I get a chance we have got to raise the bar again, but it's very friendly competition."

Former Bridgend and Celtic Warriors man Horsman was originally named on the bench against the Wallabies.

But Wales were forced to withdraw him after talks with Premier Rugby Limited - the English clubs' umbrella organisation - failed to secure his release.

The game was outside the official international window, and - although Wales had struck a deal with Worcester to allow him to face the Wallabies - Premier Rugby refused to sanction it.

"I was absolutely gutted," said Horsman. "The politics of it is beyond repair. As a player you are employed by your club.

People like the Fijian players have a tough time trying to get funding and they are going to be out to prove a point

Chris Horsman

"I've been stopped from playing rugby for various reasons, like injuries and cancer, and to be caught up in something like that, which I had no control over, was devastating.

"But it wasn't the club's fault. It was just one of those things. You are a professional and you go back to your club and do what you are paid to do."

English-born Horsman won four caps last autumn after qualifying for Wales by residency, his destructive scrummaging impressing as he played a major role in the victory over Australia.

On the Pacific Islands clash, Horsman said: "We know what we are coming up against - they are a very physical, very proud, very passionate, group of players.

"People like the Fijian players have a tough time trying to get funding and they are going to be out to prove a point.

"It's going to be a very hard, physical game and they are going to be very professional."

SEE ALSO
Horsman signs new Warriors deal
11 Jan 06 |  English
Horsman ruled out for the season
09 Jan 06 |  Internationals
Ruddock delight at forwards' grit
27 Nov 05 |  Internationals


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