Only one man’s opinion really matters when it comes to the Wales Rugby World Cup team that will play Ireland in the Six Nations opener on February 4. Over three years after the last time Warren Gatland selected a Welsh team, the millions of other Wales selectors in the country will still have their own opinions, but Gatland will already have his thoughts.
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Steffan Thomas and Ben James, our rugby correspondents, were asked to select the 23 they believe Gatland should target. Wales must simply win the physical battle, eliminate Ireland’s threat at the breakdown, and dominate the aerial RWC game to defeat the world’s top-ranked team. I’ve chosen the side I think has the best chance of achieving those objectives.
My choice of a 34-year-old Leigh Halfpenny will be laughed at by many readers, but he is still one of the best positional fullbacks in the world Rugby World Cup, and including Liam Williams in the same back three can help stop Ireland from kicking. Wales attack may also benefit from Owen Williams at twelve. In 2017, Warren Gatland tried this tactic, and it was successful.
The Ospreys player is tough on defense, can get the ball to the line, and kicks well. But his distribution skills could help Wales RWC outside backs play their best. I’ve started by stuffing the pack with ball carriers. Rhys Carre just gets the nod over destructive scrummage Nicky Smith for his carrying, but Alun Wyn Jones gets the nod to start because of his experience.
In Welsh rugby loops, plummeting Justin Tipuric would be high treason, so I’ve gone with a more physical back row to deal with Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony, and Caelan Doris’ breakdown and carrying threat. In Welsh Rugby World Cup, Jac Morgan is probably the best breakdown player, and Ross Moriarty is the kind of tough guy you need to beat Ireland.
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My 6-2 bench split between forwards and backs demonstrates the intense physicality of this test match. When it comes time to unleash Mason Grady onto the international RWC circuit, I’m confident that the likes of Dewi Lake, Smith, Christ Tshiunza, and Tipuric will have a significant impact. Williams, Liam; Rio Dyer, George North, Joe Hawkins, Josh Adams, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar. For more about knowRugby World Cup
I would definitely be attempting to gradually ingratiate them through the Rugby World Cup tournament. However, North and Williams probably wouldn’t work together right away. Therefore, let’s stick with Joe Hawkins, who not only has the ability to shunt it up but also offers Wales that second-playmaking role it requires.
The backline is pretty straightforward elsewhere. It has a lot in common with the Pivac era, but its primary goal is to do the fundamentals right. The best halfbacks in RWC and back three are available. Six of the eight members of the pack are Ospreys. Dewi Lake gets the nod ahead of Ken Owens because he played a crucial role in breaking up Leinster’s scrum on Saturday.
The important question is about Adam Beard’s partners. Daf Jenkins is my pick for the time being, with Rhys Davies deserving of a bench spot given his recent RWC performances. A 6-2 split in replacements could help bolster a team that desperately lacks confidence in its ability to win collisions. That will be provided by Owens, Carre, and Moriarty, whereas Lewis and Young, for example, may cause issues at the breakdown.
Wales will not only play unfamiliar opponents, but they will also play a new format in which they must win their first game at Cape Town Stadium in the preliminary round to advance to the second round, where they will play one of the hot favorites, Fiji. On the eve of the Rugby World Cup, Wales captain Luke Treharne said, I guess that is why the World Cup is great to watch as a fan.
You get to see these RWC matches, which only happen once or twice a year. I’ve played Korea once before in Hong Kong, so I know a little bit about what they bring to the table. However, in terms of preparation, we’ve managed to get our hands on some footage from the Asian series so that we can see how they play. You can watch as much footage as you want.
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We have a game plan ready to go, but there will also be a little bit of working things out on the pitch. Treharne stated that preparations had been going well since they arrived from Los Angeles, where the final leg of the HSBC RWC Sevens series was held, despite the fact that Callum Williams suffered an injury earlier in the week. For more about knowing Wales Vs Fiji Tickets
The boys are actually looking forward to the vacation. There are a few young boys who are playing in their first Rugby World Cup and have played in a few world series tournaments before. There are also a few of us, like myself, Owen Jenkins, and Morgan Williams, who has played in a few world series tournaments between us. This makes for a diverse group of boys, but it makes for an exciting squad.
This week’s Rugby World Cup marks the end of a long and often difficult World Series for Wales, where Richie Pugh’s team didn’t start competing until after the first four rounds. Treharne acknowledged it’s been quite an up-and-down year. Obviously, we started the season not as Wales but as part of a GB program with the combined countries, he said.
The majority of our squad wasn’t involved in the two, maybe three, or four tournaments that other teams had to get their teams up and running post-covid. This was probably the hardest thing for us because we were already a little bit behind going into our first tournaments in Spain. However, as you can see, as we’ve won more RWC tournaments and the boys have gotten back up to speed.
We were beginning to play much better. In terms of the league table, it’s unfortunate that the shorter season ran out of time toward the end. However, we clearly demonstrated at the most recent tournament in Los Angeles that we had played our best Rugby World Cup, as is frequently the case with Wales Sevens.
We have a lot of boys pending in, and then everyone needs at least four to six contests to get used to the sevens format, the strength, and the way it is played at the uppermost level. The most memorable contest: was RWC 2003. New Zealand beat Wales 57-33. Even though Wales lost, the way they played when the odds were stacked against them will be remembered for a long time.
Wales arrived in Australia with little hope of success after losing in the Six Nations earlier this year. In their final pool RWC game, they played an exhilarating style of rugby and ripped into New Zealand, leading 37-33 with just over 25 minutes left. The All Blacks roared back to score 20 unanswered points, but that match is among the best in terms of entertainment.
It did not last. Wales carried that momentum into their quarterfinal matchup with England, where they once more found themselves behind their more well-known rivals until England, like New Zealand, was able to alter the RWC game’s course and win. Wales came within one point of Australia thanks to Adrian Hadley’s try, but they still needed their inexperienced fullback to score the extra two points to win. Wales followed Thorburn’s lead and returned home with their heads held high.
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