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Beating Australia ‘will not matter’ if Wales lose to Fiji, assistant coach says

Wales are in pole position to win Pool D following victories over Australia and Georgia.

Wales’ victory over Australia will be meaningless unless the team continues its winning ways, one of its coaches says (David Davies/PA)
Wales’ victory over Australia will be meaningless unless the team continues its winning ways, one of its coaches says (David Davies/PA)

By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent, Otsu

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde says his side’s World Cup victories over Australia and Georgia “will not a matter a bit” if they fail to successfully complete their Pool D assignment.

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Wales are in pole position to reach the quarter-finals as group winners ahead of remaining games against Fiji and Uruguay.

If they make it a case of mission accomplished and retain a 100 per cent record, it sets up a potential last-eight appointment with France or Argentina.

The Wales players are enjoying time relaxing at a lakeside base in Otsu before full training starts again later this week.

Fishing and a boat cruise have been among the attractions, but their focus will soon switch entirely to facing Fiji in seven days’ time.

“It is important that we get the two victories,” Wales assistant coach McBryde said.

“The first two games will not matter a bit if we don’t finish the job off, so we’ve just got to go about our business very professionally and look at it one game at a time.

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Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde says his side is aiming for a clean sweep of the pool stage (Ben Birchall/PA)

“We know Fiji can be a dangerous team on their day.

“They weren’t at their best against Uruguay, but that first-half against Australia, they showed glimpses of what they can do.

“We can’t take them lightly. On past experience as well, when you look back to 2007 (Wales lost to Fiji), we know if we give them any opportunities, they are good enough to take them.

“We wlll have to discuss selection because of the short turnaround (four days between Fiji and Uruguay), but we know we can get through it because we have done it before.

We know Fiji can be a dangerous team on their day Robin McBryde

“It is important to move the whole group along at the same pace as well. Everyone is feeling significant – they have got a part to play. At the moment, we are in a good place.

“There was a short turnaround between the Georgia and Australia games, with travelling in between. It was very intense over that period, so to come out on top against Australia was a fantastic achievement.

“I thought the resolve and character they showed during the game was outstanding. They fully deserve their time off.

“We are just going to do a little bit of light training this morning. Again, it is optional, but the majority of players are going to do it.

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“We have got a bit of momentum, a bit of a wind in our sails, and the boys are just keen to keep that going.

“It’s just keeping on top of things and making sure we give ourselves the best opportunity against Fiji.”

Wales’ players, coaches and staff were given a boat trip reception on Lake Biwa – although they set out just as a thunderstorm broke.

McBryde added: “We timed it well – in the middle of the thunder and lightning and heavy rain!

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The Welsh players say they have received a warm welcome in Japan (Adam Davy/PA)

“The welcome we had was fantastic.

“Prior to getting on to the boat, there was a massive crowd cheering us on, and the schoolchildren were banging some drums, which was fantastic, and that welcome just makes you feel at home, really.

“We just went back and forth in the bay, but it was enough. It was good.

“The scariest thing was when they (players) were asked to play the drums.

“Bradley Davies didn’t look really sure of himself with two sticks in his hand. Thankfully, he didn’t break the drums, as they are 1,000 years old!

“It’s a World Cup, it comes around once every four years, and you have just got to enjoy the experience, and last night was one of those occasions.”

PA

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