Adam Beard ‘the fittest he’s ever been’ as he prepares for another World Cup
Adam Beard defied the odds to play a role in Wales’ 2019 World Cup campaign after undergoing appendix surgery but is now feeling in the shape of his career.
Wales lock Beard said he is “the fittest I have ever been” ahead of Saturday’s tournament warm-up clash against England at Twickenham.
Four years ago, the Wales squad departed for Japan without Beard, who had made the journey to Heathrow before worsening stomach cramps meant he headed straight back home, into hospital and had an operation.
“It was a bit crazy,” Beard said.
“I remember the night just before travelling and going down with stomach cramps, and I thought nothing of it. I thought it might be a bit of trapped wind or whatever.
“But it got progressively worse and I wasn’t deemed fit to fly by our doctor. I then had my appendix removed as soon as I got back.
“It was a bit of a curve-ball and a bit of a setback, but I am just thankful the coaches gave me that time to recover and get me out there to Japan when I was fit and raring to go.
“If you asked me when I was coming off that operating table from the appendix operation I probably would have said that I wouldn’t have played at that World Cup.
“I was lucky that the coaches gave me that chance and had the belief in me to go out there and perform for them.
“I definitely know my appendix won’t go this time, so I should be OK. Hopefully, touch wood, nothing like that happens with the lead up to this World Cup.”
Ospreys forward Beard started Wales’ final pool game against Uruguay and went on to make three further appearances, including as a replacement in the quarter-final appointment with France and semi-final loss to South Africa.
With 46 caps under his belt and firmly established as a key member of Wales’ leadership playing group, that experience will be essential for head coach Warren Gatland as he formulates his World Cup squad.
Beard added: “Just looking at my stats – my fitness test scores, body composition, strength – it’s the fittest I have ever been.
“So, physically, going into these games I am in a really good position and just looking forward to getting the rugby side of it going now. Hopefully, I can put in a good performance on the weekend.”
Beard will be part of a Wales team at Twickenham that includes six current or past Ospreys forwards, captained for the first time by hooker Dewi Lake.
“You know what Dewi brings – that physicality and presence around the park,” Beard said.
“For such a young man he is a great leader and he has shown that through the age grades.
“He has taken to it very well this week, spoken very well when he has needed to. He hasn’t overdone it.
“Sometimes when guys go into that leadership role they feel like they have to speak a lot, but when Dewi speaks people listen and I think that is definitely a good show of his character.”
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