Four of Ball's five Test caps came in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations
Jake Ball is ready to cement his status as an important player in Warren Gatland's Wales side after earning the nod to face the Wallabies this weekend.
The 23-year-old first appeared at Test level in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations, coming off the bench in a disappointing 26-3 defeat to eventual champions Ireland.
He earned that opportunity after injuries to Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris, as well as Ian Evans' suspension, but after some eye-catching form for the Scarlets Ball has played his way firmly into Gatland's plans.
And ahead of Saturday's Millennium Stadium clash with Australia - the country where Ball was once a teenage cricketing prodigy - he is relishing the prospect of packing down next to Alun Wyn Jones.
"It has been massive for me," said Ball, who has started two Tests for Wales.
"During the RBS 6 Nations I got called up when Brad went down, so to gain selection in this squad without someone going down has been big for me. And now to get a starting spot as well, to get picked was a big goal of mine.
"It's great to have such strength in the second row and there is always competition in training. And I have had a lot of game-time this season and have been really pleased with how it has gone so far.
"I think it is a good combination. I have a massive amount of respect for Alun Wyn and I enjoy playing alongside him."
Henry Slade admits he could not watch his England team-mates celebrate their RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam triumph after suffering injury heartbreak, but now has the Red Rose's summer tour to Australia in his sights.