Wales out to beat France for World Cup boost
PARIS: Wales will have the 2019 World Cup on their minds when they conclude their Six Nations campaign against France today.
Wales suffered at the last World Cup draw, one match too many outside the international window in November 2014 — a narrow loss to Australia — consigning them to a spot outside the world’s top eight and a place in a pool which included hosts England and the Wallabies.
A tough group by anyone’s standards when you add in Fiji as the fourth team. Eventually, Wales struck lucky and England didn’t even make it out of the first round stage.
Having gone from the threat of dropping out of the top eight again should they have lost last weekend to Ireland — they prevailed with an emphatic 22-9 victory — Wales now seem poised to grab the World No 4 spot from France to better their chances of avoiding a tougher pool draw for Japan in 2019, which takes place in the Japanese city of Kyoto on May 10.
Victory for Wales in Paris — and an England victory over Ireland in Dublin — would lift the Welsh into fourth spot, a “large incentive“, according to Rob Howley, in charge after Warren Gatland was seconded to the British and Irish Lions for their summer tour to New Zealand.
“We feel in good shape like we did for the Ireland game and we are looking for a similar result,” said Howley.
“We have talked about the opportunity to go fourth in the world, and we are relying on other results to go second in the championship. We are aware of that.
“We have the opportunity to go into the next World Cup ranked fourth in the world. That is a large incentive for players and the coaches.” AFP