World Cup: Wales v Fiji
Venue: Oita Stadium, Oita Date: Wed, 9 October Kick-off: 10:45 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on every Wales game across BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Josh Navidi admits it is “crazy” he has become a Wales back-row regular as he prepares for a third successive World Cup start against Fiji on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old is the sole starting survivor in the Wales back-row that defeated .

comes in for the rested Justin Tipuric, while replaces .

“It’s been crazy and a couple of months ago I did take a step back and think about it,” said Navidi.

The back-rower made his Wales debut against Japan in Tokyo 2013 before having to wait four years for his next cap.

Since then Navidi has become a regular across the back-row and switches to flanker against Fiji to accommodate Moriarty, after playing number eight in the opening victories against Georgia and .

“If you had said to me four years ago that I would be playing in this World Cup I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” said Navidi.

“It is nice to be here embracing it and taking the opportunity. Hopefully I can just keep the jersey and keep on playing.”

Wales coach now has no doubts about Navidi’s qualities after not initially picking him between 2013 and 2017.

“He’s just unassuming and tough,” said Gatland.

“He runs hard, tackles hard, does the basics well, doesn’t make many mistakes and is good in the contact area.

“He is a quality player and I know in the past a lot of people had been pushing for him.

“Unfortunately he has had a few injuries over a few periods, but when he has been fit he has been an integral part of that loose-forward trio.

“He is underrated. I remember speaking to John Mitchell (England forwards coach) after we played at home and he said that the England boys have a lot of respect for him as a player. That to me is recognition of quality.

“And a few years ago, I think it was one of Josh’s first games when we played the All Blacks, (New Zealand coach) Steve Hansen said, ‘Where did you get that number seven from?’

“We are lucky in that department, some real quality loose forwards who are all capable of doing a job and there is some competition there.”

Navidi is renowned for his dreadlocks but one thing he and the rest of the Welsh team will have to do without is an unofficial barber.

His brother was in Japan supporting and had provided some of the squad with haircuts ahead of the victory before returning to Wales.

“My brother was over here for about two weeks, he came in and did the boys’ haircuts to freshen them up for the game,” said Navidi.

“But now the boys are struggling to find a barber. So they might have a few wild haircuts.

“The boys are saying they will pay for his ticket to come back and he has said he will look to come back out.”


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