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Alun-Wyn Jones: Wales' quest for World Cup glory harder after Australia defeat

Published 11/10/2015

Lock Alun-Wyn Jones knows how tough a task awaits Wales in the quest for World Cup glory
Lock Alun-Wyn Jones knows how tough a task awaits Wales in the quest for World Cup glory

Alun-Wyn Jones accepts that Wales will need to "do it the hard way" in their quest for Rugby World Cup glory.

Wales' 15-6 defeat against Australia in Saturday's Pool A decider at Twickenham considerably increased their tournament degree of difficulty.

Victory over the Wallabies would have meant a quarter-final appointment with Scotland next Sunday, but they must now tackle twice world champions South Africa 24 hours earlier, and if they win that, then New Zealand potentially await.

World Cup history is also stacked against Wales, with no team during seven previous stagings having won the tournament after finishing runners-up in their group.

"If we are going to win the World Cup, we are going to have to do it the hard way," Wales lock Jones said.

"Nobody has ever done it from finishing second in their pool, but there has got to be a first.

"We have lost to one southern hemisphere team, but if we're going to progress to where we want to be, then we are going to have to beat another two.

"They (South Africa) faltered in their first match (against Japan) but, like a lot of teams, they have grown throughout the tournament.

"We pushed them last summer and gave a good performance to beat them last autumn. I think they still have a point to prove after their initial performance (against Japan). They will be disappointed with their start, but they have grown into the tournament and you can't discount them."

Wales failed to capitalise on the scoreboard when Australia had two players - Will Genia and Dean Mumm - sin-binned, and Jones added: "We were held up (over the line) three times.

"We should have capitalised when they were down to 13 men, but we didn't, and you have got to move on.

"When you are a man down, it goes very slowly, and when you are a man up it goes very quickly.

"We didn't capitalise, probably through a fault of ours, and that we didn't finish it is credit to them (Australia) and their resolute defence as well.

"When we look at it, I think it will be pretty obvious what went wrong. We didn't make any rash decisions, but we didn't score."

The Wales players awoke at their Surrey base on Sunday to fresh injury news, with Scarlets back Liam Williams having succumbed to a foot problem and being ruled out of the tournament remainder.

But they must quickly put that latest setback behind them - Williams has joined Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Webb, Scott Williams, Hallam Amos and Cory Allen in suffering a tournament-ending injury - and regroup for South Africa's challenge.

Wales beat South Africa when the countries last met 11 months ago, and Jones' second-row partner Luke Charteris added: "I think our defence was the difference that day.

"When you look back, whenever we have a big win our defence has usually been a massive part of that. That was the pleasing thing from yesterday that our defence was really good to hold an Australia team to no tries.

"You have got to go into every game thinking you can win. You are coming into a quarter-final of a World Cup, and it is going to be a massive game whoever you play.

"They are very fine margins at the top of the game. We have to make sure those fine margins go our way."

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