THERE was only going to be one winner in Ashley Beck’s mental battle during his injury nightmare ­— his better half made sure of that.

Lay on the sofa pondering what would happen next while recovering from double surgery on a broken leg sustained against Stade Francais in October, the former Wales centre had plenty to contemplate ­— not least the impending arrival of daughter Penelope.

But with a mum-to-be on the scene there was no room for self-pity, something the Neath-born ace remains pretty grateful for.

Beck said: “At the start you are in the mindset of ‘Is there anything wrong with me? I’ll be alright, the scan will be fine’.

“You are already fighting a battle within yourself. After the surgery I could not do anything for two weeks and then I had to have another operation two weeks later.

“That was four weeks out of six on the settee and my partner was pregnant at the time so as you can imagine I was going to get it both barrels if I moaned too much!

“The support from my family and my partner ­— she moved up here last year with me ­— was vital. She was there all the time, if I needed to go out somewhere or anything like that.

“That helps you get through it all because you do constantly fight battles and ask some stupid questions of yourself, the sort that when you’re fit again you think ‘why on God’s earth did I think like that?’”

Beck, signed in the summer of 2018 from Ospreys, is no stranger to setbacks.

Hip, groin and ankle problems were followed by a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) before requiring surgery on a troublesome shoulder, denting chances of adding to seven caps and two tries for his country.

“It is tough and it gets worse the more you have as well,” continued Beck.

“People say it gets easier but when I had my first surgery I had the mindset that I would go in every day, get bigger, better, stronger. Once you keep getting injured it can be different.

“I went into one pre-season, felt really good and then got injured again, then I was into another pre-season and now I am into my third pre-season in a year at Worcester.

“You can see that end line now though and it is just a case of looking forward. All of the other thoughts are gone.”

And it is that positive outlook that prevents Beck from thinking the worst when back in the thick of the action.

“It is a case of going out there to play and if something happens, it happens. There is nothing you can do about it,” he said.

“There was nothing I could have done any different out in Paris without being a couple of metres quicker. It is something you just have to get over.

“You’re either lucky, slip out of that tackle or fall differently, maybe the other person slips off you, or not. There are lots of different scenarios that can play out.

“I have never had something where I have felt worried going into a game, it has always been a niggly thing I have had for a while or a freak injury which a lot of people would have had in the same situation.”

And what about that far more important role he took on during the summer?

Penelope arrived safe and well in May, adding to dad’s determination.

“I always wondered how it would be when my mates had kids. I thought ‘I don’t know how they are coping with this sleep thing’,” said Beck.

“Even now I don’t know how boys have babies in the season, and that was with me sleeping through most of the nights as well!

“My partner might come up and say something because she has been the one missing out on sleep.

“It is great though. It opens your eyes a little bit more, there is more to life than what is going on day to day when you see her smiling at you. You get a different perspective.

“You go home and see her smile back at you and there is something there where I want her to see me doing well.

“The things I have done before, which have gone now, I want her to see me in that kind of light so you have to get out there and do it.”