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Charteris relishing Ireland test

Luke Charteris believes Wales are "battle-hardened and ready" for a World Cup quarter-final confrontation with Ireland on Saturday.

And the 6ft 9in Wales lock has a huge role to play as he and second-row partner Alun-Wyn Jones will tackle Ireland's revered lineout combination of Donncha O'Callaghan and Paul O'Connell.

Charteris, preparing for the biggest game of his career, said: "When you come up against a highly-rated pair it means you just have to raise your game. I don't think there is any intimidating factor. If you do feel it, you are probably in the wrong sort of sport. I always have the mindset that the better the opposition the more you have to raise your game."

The Wales lineout performed strongly throughout the group games, notably against world champions South Africa, and Charteris added: "We are very happy with the way the lineout has gone.

"We have been up against a lot of teams who have put pressure on us, but we've come out with real big statistics. Ireland will do a lot of work on us, but we will rely on our processes.

"The lineout is an area of the game that changes. They bring little rules in and you have to adapt, perhaps come up with new ideas to stay one step ahead. For a lot of us it is our first time at a tournament like this, and we are loving every minute of it.

"Four years is a long time in rugby - you never know what is going to happen next week, let alone four years down the line - and I think everyone treats this as their last World Cup.If you are lucky enough to get another one, it is a bonus.

"We were in such a tough group that we knew we were going to have to hit the ground running and there would be no let-up from the first start to hopefully the final.

"So far, it is as we expected. We've had four tough games and we've tried to raise our performances each time we have taken the field. Facing Ireland, we know we are battle-hardened and ready for it."

Wales have received a welcome selection boost for the clash with full-back James Hook, wing Shane Williams and flanker Dan Lydiate all training with the squad at Wellington's Newtown Park. It means Wales coach Warren Gatland is set to have a full complement of 30 players from which he can choose his starting line-up.


From Belfast Telegraph