Carling 'hugely impressed' by Wales
Published 19/10/2011 | 09:02
Former England captain Will Carling has showered praise on Wales following an outstanding World Cup campaign.
Wales will end their World Cup stint by contesting Friday's bronze medal match against Australia at Eden Park. And Carling, in Auckland in his role as a Heineken World Cup ambassador, believes they have made a major impression on the tournament.
"Two or three years ago, I was hearing stuff about egos in the Wales camp and people saying it was out of control, but it has just changed," he said. "I think their work ethic, their attitude has been hugely impressive."
He added: "I think a huge amount of it is these young players coming in. They are talented, but they have also got a great attitude.
"Wales are probably the fittest team in the competition. They have progressed magnificently, and as Scott Quinnell said the other day: 'they came here as boys, and they are leaving as men'.
"They should have beaten South Africa in the pool stage, so for me, there is still a mental bit for Wales to get over.
"Physically, they are in great shape, they have got some young talent, and now they've got to find that bit of steel where those games are actually won. That is the next stage, for me. They need to find a bit more steel. If you put yourselves in a position to win a game, you've got to finish it off."
Carling also voiced his admiration for Wales captain Sam Warburton, whose tournament reached a premature conclusion after he was sent off in the semi-final defeat against France and then collected a three-week ban.
"Warburton has been outstanding," he added. "I feel very sorry for him in the sense that him being sent off will be the memory people have of him.
"I think the mark of him is how he has handled it. He has been banned for three weeks, and I haven't heard any complaint. He is an impressive man and he has set the tone for Wales."