TAULUPE Faletau says his injury frustration has increased his hunger for Test rugby after a season on the sidelines.

The number eight endured a nightmare 2018/19 after two broken arms limited him to five games for Bath and meant he didn't add to his tally of 72 Wales caps.

The Pontypool-raised back rower watched on as Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright impressed for Warren Gatland's Grand Slam winners.

Now the Dragons great is battling that quartet and Aaron Shingler and James Davies for places in the World Cup squad.

The 28-year-old is ramping up his training ahead of the tune-ups against England and Ireland and is excited about the chance to impress the management in the bid to secure a place in the final 31 for Japan.

"Hopefully it's better this time around, I haven't played a game yet but I've been doing some contact with the boys and it's holding up okay so far," said Faletau, whose last international outing was against France in March, 2018.

"I had the same procedure the second time around, the surgeon put another plate the other side of the bone to strengthen it.

"World Cups are just something you want to be part of. Playing for your country at a World Cup is another level.

"It was more frustrating the second time around because I was looking forward to playing some rugby at the end of the season but it just wasn't meant to be.

"I've done bits and bobs – not quite full on yet – but during the stuff I have done so far it has been okay.

"I didn't realise at the time but being away from rugby for that amount of time, the hunger is more there now I guess. You are doing it year in, year out – you take it for granted at times."

Faletau watched on as Wales racked up 14 Test wins on the spin and the Lions ace is typically humble when assessing his chances for the final cut.

"Hopefully I can get some training done here and my arm will be okay and then I can play again soon," he said.

"It's about winning my place in the team back, a lot of hard work will go into it but everybody is doing the same thing to put their hands up.

"It's been a tough couple of weeks but it wasn't meant to be easy out here. It's good to be back in and amongst the boys and training with them again, I've been enjoying it.

"They're a group who have done a lot of good things over the last year or so and I'm sure they'll take that confidence into the games ahead," he added.

"It's always during the build up to games where I wish I was a part of it or at least being around the group."

Before heading to Switzerland, Faletau returned to Tonga for the wedding of his 'cousin' and fellow Pontypool-raised back rower Billy Vunipola, the England and Saracens star.

"It was awesome to get back there. It was the first time I had been there since 2011, so it was awesome to see the family and the culture again," said Faletau.

"I was born there but moved to Wales when I was seven. This time round I took my partner down and the kids and everyone had a great time. My only regret was that I wasn't there longer."

"It's a small country, so you get recognised by everybody. They are proud and back their own," he continued.

"You can see with the rugby league there they have a huge amount of supporters and any Tongan playing for another country they will support them hugely too.

"I represent Wales now, but I am Tongan. If I can make them proud by playing for Wales I will be happy to do that."