BYRNE ON A WINNING WICKET
Lee Byrne notched up the first win of his 2010 RBS 6 Nations campaign when an appeal hearing late on Tuesday night left him free to play against England at Twickenham this weekend - now he is hungry for the second.
Byrne's two-week suspension from playing rugby was turned into a fine at an independent disciplinary appeal hearing in Glasgow and he has subsequently been named in Warren Gatland's starting XV to face the auld enemy.
The Ospreys, Wales and British & Irish Lions full back makes his international return, after forced absence through injury during Wales' Autumn campaign, and intends to hit the ground running at Twickenham leaving all thoughts of the 16th-man controversy way behind him.
"I'm absolutely over the moon to be honest, I'm just glad to put the last four or five days behind me and be back on familiar ground preparing for a game of rugby rather than thinking about an appeal hearing," said Byrne.
"All thoughts of the case are now immediately out of my mind, I've missed one training session in getting to Glasgow, but we are at the business end of the training week and all my focus now must be on Twickenham.
"I've really got to go on record thanking Roger Lewis and the WRU's solicitors Hugh James for all that they did for me, they left no stone unturned and have really looked after me. I found myself in a difficult position, but I'm just glad it's all over now and it was just great to be part of the winning team."
Byrne made his international debut against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium in 2005 as a replacement for then full back Gareth Thomas and, three years plus 27 caps later, the 28-year-old has a Grand Slam, seven international tries, and a Lions tour under his belt - but he believes he is going to need all of that experience when he makes his return on Saturday.
"There's no pressure on me now to perform at the weekend is there... after all the effort everyone has put in on my behalf?" he joked.
"The support out there for me has been amazing, from random people coming up to me at the airport to wish me luck before I flew out to Glasgow to all the texts and phone messages I've had since the result has been out - it's quite humbling to know you have that kind of support out there, I just hope I can repay everyone with a performance.
"It's just going to be great to get back to international rugby, it feels like I've been away for ages after missing out on the Autumn internationals due to the injury I picked up with the Lions.
"I found it very difficult to watch the boys in the Autumn and ended up going away on holiday in the end because I'm not a great watcher.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back on the field at Twickenham and there's nothing like starting back with the big one against England in a centenary game.
"The expectation at the start of any campaign is immense but the senior players in this squad have been through a lot together now, we have the experience and we have just got to handle that pressure, we know can do it.
"We started the campaign in 2008 with a win against them at Twickenham for the first time in 20 years and look what happened then, it's all about winning that first game and then building some momentum.
"That's very much the same for both sides, but we just have to make sure it's us who have the edge."
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Wales National Squad Communications Manager
WRU Group, Millennium Stadium, Westgate Street, Cardiff CF10 1NS
Email (inc blackberry): email@example.com
M: 07825 981 128
Tel (switchboard): 02920 822000