KUMAMOTO, Japan (Reuters) – Adam Beard has overcome appendectomy and weight loss to make his World Cup debut for Wales and is keen to prove himself against Uruguay on Sunday with an eye on a starting place in the quarter-finals.
The 23-year-old Beard was a regular partner of captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row but felt ill shortly before the team left for Japan and was told not to fly with the side.
“I just came down with a bit of a bad stomach (and) I didn’t think anything of it,” Beard told reporters in Kumamoto on Saturday.
“I texted the doctor and asked for a few tablets to hopefully settle the stomach, but it progressively got more painful, and when we got to Heathrow the doctor assessed me and made me not fit to fly.
“I went back to Cardiff and the Heath Hospital and had surgery on my appendix. About 10 days later I flew to Japan.”
Beard added that he had lost about five kilograms following the surgery and that having to put the weight back on had been a bit of a struggle.
“We normally eat about five or six times a day, and I added extra on, with extra porridge and fruit at breakfast, and trying to get back into the training regime,” he said.
“Losing that much weight, you lose your appetite at the same time. My stomach was hurting at times, but I knew I had to get the weight back on.”
Wales have already advanced to the quarter-finals but with victory against the South Americans can top Pool D and face the inconsistent French in Oita next Sunday in the quarter-finals rather than Eddie Jones’ powerful England team.
Beard has not appeared yet at the World Cup in Japan as he recovered from the keyhole surgery and he will partner Bradley Davies in the middle row against Uruguay for Warren Gatland’s side, who are nursing some injury concerns.
Centre Jonathan Davies (knee) and flyhalf Dan Biggar (head injury assessment) are Gatland’s biggest worries looking ahead to next week, but Beard said there was enough depth and competition in the squad, which would be evident on Sunday.
“We want to finish this group on a high with four wins, and Gats has said there are places to be put up for the quarter-final in that 23,” he said.
“So it is about putting our best forward and trying to get a place in the match-day 23 for the quarters.
“The competition for places has brought the best out of everyone and created the strength in depth.
“I think anyone could slip into the team and put a performance in. We can’t wait to get out there.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Toyota City; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)