Wales rugby aim to have Faletau fit to face South Africa

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London (AFP)

Wales have released Taulupe Faletau to English Premiership side Bath for their west country derby against Bristol on Friday in the hope of having him fit to face South Africa in their final November international.

Back-row forward Faletau has been sidelined since injuring his knee on club duty in September and has missed both of Wales's opening November internationals in Cardiff, with a 32-8 defeat by Australia followed by last weekend's narrow 24-20 win over Argentina.

By playing for Bath on Friday, Faletau will rule himself out of Wales's match against Japan on Saturday.

But if the No 8 comes through that match at Bath's Recreation Ground unscathed, he could be in line to feature for Wales against South Africa when they complete their end-of-year series the following weekend.

Faletau is set to rejoin the Wales squad on Monday and interim head coach Rob Howley said: "Taulupe has progressed excellently with his recovery and he has been released back to Bath this week to prepare for their game against Bristol on Friday night.

"We have a good working relationship with Bath and our medical team, led by Prav (Mathema), have been working closely and in unison with the team at Bath," the former Wales and British and Irish Lions scrum-half added.

"It is pleasing that Taulupe is in line to make his return for them this week and will link back up with us on Monday."