Tuesday 28 January 2020

Taulupe Faletau: I only value criticism from my team-mates, coaches and family

Taulupe Faletau says his father Kuli is one of the few people from whom he will value criticism after impressing for the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.

Faletau admitted he speaks to his dad, the 1991 Tonga World Cup star, before every match to receive a candid rundown of his strengths and weaknesses.

Former All Blacks number eight Zinzan Brooke claimed Faletau does not boast enough "mongrel edge" to stand out on the Lions tour to New Zealand - a jibe to which the Bath back-rower has given the shortest possible shrift.

Faletau had already refused to dignify Brooke's comments and rejected his fine showing in the 13-7 win over the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians was a riposte.

Instead Faletau insisted he only listens to advice from coaches, team-mates and family - and vowed to stick to that formula as a gruelling Lions tour hits full swing.

"I'm not here to answer anybody, I'm here for my team-mates on the pitch, I'm here for the squad, I'll do anything for them," said Faletau.

"Anyone can say what they want, but I'm here as myself and I'll take my judgement from my team-mates and no one else.

"I definitely do listen to the players around me, my coaches and my family as well. I don't really take too much notice of anyone outside that.

"Sometimes I do get a telling-off from my family!

"Personally, I speak to my dad before every game, and he tells me about one thing or whatnot.

"But it's great for us to talk like that, and I really appreciate getting advice like that from him.

"If I were to have criticism from my dad, then I would definitely listen to that.

"That can really keep me grounded. He's not going to shy away from saying what he thinks and telling the truth.

"If there's something he's not happy with, attitude-wise or something I'm doing in the game, he'll definitely let me know."

Faletau produced a masterful try-saving tackle to deny Inga Finau what seemed a certain score in the first half of a distinctly underwhelming Lions performance.

Anthony Watson's late try salvaged victory against a team of part-timers and promising youngsters, with maintenance engineer Sam Anderson-Heather's try putting the hosts 7-3 ahead at the break.

Faletau shrugged off praise for his vital tackle, before admitting his dad will now tell him to refocus quickly on the Lions' next challenges - starting with the Blues at Eden Park on Wednesday.

"There's not much to talk about to be honest," said Faletau of that tackle.

"I was just tracking back, they made the line-break. It was a two-on-one, and I gave a chase and managed to get back.

"Hopefully it helped, but we'll just take the result and move on.

"My dad won't say too much about this game, his focus is always to say 'forget the things that have just gone, concentrate on what's coming next and get ready for that, and see what you can do better'."

PA Media

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