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Bennett urges Wales to end on high

Huw Bennett says Wales will relish the prospect of tackling Australia in Friday's World Cup bronze medal match at Eden Park.

Wales bring the curtain down on their memorable World Cup campaign after a difficult week when they lost by a point to semi-final opponents France and had captain Sam Warburton sent off. The third place play-off is a game neither team wanted to be involved in, but hooker Bennett is determined that Wales should bow out on a high.

He said: "It is a big test of character for us. It was a devastating blow to miss out on the final, but we have to move on and enjoy ourselves. We cannot dwell on France. We are involved in a play-off, and if you cannot get up for that then you are in the wrong job."

Bennett added: "You have to give the World Cup credit for what it is, and to be so close to making the final was heart-breaking. We only lost by one point, but we have moved on and we are relishing taking on Australia."

Bennett has been one of Wales' success stories at the tournament, moving seamlessly into a hooking role vacated by an injured Matthew Rees, while Richard Hibbard was also hurt before coach Warren Gatland's August squad announcement.

"With Matthew and Richard missing out because of injury, I have been able to stake my claim for the hooker's jersey," Bennett added.

"Matthew would have had a pivotal role as captain, but when he was ruled out that left a gap for me. Everyone has worked hard, but I have been lucky enough to get the jersey."

Wales will be without suspended skipper Warburton - prop Gethin Jenkins leads the team in his absence - but Gatland has retained 12 of the side that started against France.


From Belfast Telegraph