‘Bat­tered’ Wales rest up for Aus­tralia show­down

We want to be group win­ners, says Jenk­ins Biggar be­com­ing ‘one of the best 10s in the world’

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport: Rugby World Cup 2015 - By Steve James

The Wales camp was a quiet place yesterday morn­ing, with most of the play­ers hav­ing re­turned home for a week­end off af­ter the Fiji match, but among the man­age­ment re­main­ing there was a pal­pa­ble sense of re­lief that, af­ter the eu­pho­ria of vic­tory over Eng­land, a po­ten­tial banana skin had been avoided.

“Ob­vi­ously there are a lot of bat­tered bod­ies,” said kick­ing coach Neil Jenk­ins. “It was a bru­tal Test match last night. But we have got the job done and we have won. To play two Test matches to the stan­dard we have played over the last few days is huge. It doesn’t bear think­ing about what these boys have gone through. They trained on Tues­day, did a team run Wed­nes­day, then played against a team who were fresh and ea­ger to do well.”

All eyes now turn to Twick­en­ham, but the truth is that the re­sult of the Eng­land ver­sus Aus­tralia match does not re­ally mat­ter that much to Wales. Yes, if Eng­land lose, Wales are def­i­nitely through to the quar­ter-fi­nals, but if Wales then lose to Aus­tralia in a week’s time it is likely that they will face South Africa and be in the wrong side of the draw along with New Zealand.

“What­ever hap­pens on Satur­day night, we have got to turn up a week Satur­day and win,” said Jenk­ins. “Even if Eng­land did lose on Satur­day night and go out, we will still be look­ing for­ward to the Aus­tralia game. We want to go through as group win­ners.”

The ef­fects of such a short turn­around be­tween two hugely phys­i­cal Tests were there for all to see as fly­half Dan Biggar limped off with cramp dur­ing the sec­ond half on Thurs­day night.

“It just took its toll,” said Jenk­ins. “There were a lot of boys cramp­ing up last night, which is un­der­stand­able hav­ing played Eng­land, trav­el­ling home and then play­ing against an in­cred­i­bly tough Fiji side. Dan was just another one who was cramp­ing up. I think it’s just fa­tigue. It was a pretty fast game and I think both sides were pretty happy when the fi­nal whis­tle went.”

Biggar kicked 13 points, in­clud­ing an im­por­tant penalty from near half­way that put Wales 10 points clear when Fiji were threat­en­ing all sorts of may­hem in the sec­ond half, and although he may not have been at his best in his gen­eral play, he re­mains the dar­ling of Welsh rugby.

“He is a mas­sive player for Wales at this mo­ment in time and a real go-to man,” said Jenk­ins. “I wouldn’t say he is too far away from be­ing one of the best 10s in the world. He has the de­sire to be the best in the world and he is cer­tainly go­ing the right way about it.

“From a young age you could tell that Dan was go­ing to play for Wales. He would prob­a­bly have told you straight away that he was go­ing to be a Welsh in­ter­na­tional and a Bri­tish Lion.

“I am sure that is on the hori­zon. He has ma­tured over the last few years and is play­ing so well. I think the next level was for him to dic­tate like that in a Welsh shirt and I think he has done that.”

Kick­ing king: Dan Biggar col­lected 13 points against Fiji be­fore limp­ing off the field with cramp

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.