Taulupe Faletau will head into Wales’ autumn series without having played a single minute of rugby this season.

The 30-year-old Bath player is recovering after rolling an ankle on his return from the Lions tour.

He hasn’t featured on the pitch since appearing off the bench for Warren Gatland’s tourists in the second Test against South Africa on July 31.

Faletau wouldn’t have been available for Wales' campaign opener against New Zealand on Saturday as he is England-based and the Test is outside the international window.

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Bath are liaising with Wales over one of their most prized players with their director of rugby Stuart Hooper expressing the view that Faletau needs to have shaken off the injury before taking the field again.

At the club's midweek press call, Hooper was asked whether it was likely Faletau’s first rugby of the season would potentially come in a Wales shirt.

“I don’t know, because I don’t pick the Wales team,” he said.

“When the regulation 9 window allows Toby to train with Wales, if they pick him, they pick him.

“That’s not my decision.

“But what I do know is that our medical team works incredibly closely with the Welsh medical team, who are fantastic by the way. They do a great job and they all work incredibly well together to make sure Toby wouldn’t do something with them that he wouldn’t do with us.

“It’s an incredibly aligned rehab process.

“If he goes there for one day of treatment we know what’s happened and why it’s happened and it fits with us and what we’re trying to do.

“He’s our player.

“He really wants to be back on the field as soon as possible, but the ankle’s been niggling and we have to make sure it’s right before he gets back out there.”

Already without Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi for the entire autumn programme, Pivac will be keen to see Faletau back on the pitch, with the No. 8 nominated for the Six Nations player-of-the-tournament award last season. The 86-cap player finished third on the list of tacklers (77) and carriers (66) for the tournament as he helped drive Wales to an against-the-odds title success.

Taulupe Faletau in action against England

Bath haven’t ruled out the possibility of Faletau being released back to them to bank minutes before stepping back up to the international stage. Asked if such a scenario might unfold, Hooper said: “Potentially. This happened before, not just with him but with various players. That’s a conversation between myself and Wayne Pivac around his selection and minutes and what we think is best for him.”

Pivac has named Aaron Wainwright at No. 8 against New Zealand, with the Dragon having played there twice for Wales in the summer while Faletau was away with the Lions.