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Uruguay urged to enjoy Rugby World Cup clash against Wales

Uruguay head coach Pablo Lemoine has told his players to put an emphasis on enjoyment as they prepare for a punishing World Cup pool.

Their World Cup journey begins against Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, while host nation England and twice-World Cup winners Australia are also among some daunting Pool A opponents.

But Lemoine said: "We're very excited to be participating in a Rugby World Cup and to play in the Millennium Stadium, which is one of the most important stadiums in the world. We are focused on the match.

"Wales are a really strong team and we are expecting it to be tough, but I have told the players that one of the most important things is that they enjoy it.

"As amateur players it is the best experience for them and everyone has to build their own experience from it.

"We knew when we qualified that it would be tough. For us it will be an amazing experience, but we are not watching the performance of the other teams. We have a commitment to our rugby back home in Uruguay."

Uruguay's entire starting line-up will make World Cup debuts this weekend - the South Americans last played in the tournament 12 years ago - under lock Santiago Vilaseca's captaincy. Their most experienced player is 50 times-capped hooker Carlos Arboleya.

"Soccer is the main sport, but over the last four years we have prepared a sports programme and we have a public stadium in Montevideo where we built a high-performance training centre," Lemoine said.

"We feel the support from the people and the press, and that helps us to grow as a team. We are trying to make rugby the second sport in Uruguay and it is now played in all state schools."

Uruguay team (versus Wales): G Meres; S Gibernau, J Prada, A Vilaseca, R Silva; F Berchesi, A Ormaechea; A Corral, C Arboleya, M Sagario, S Vilaseca (capt), J Zerbino, J-M Gaminara, M Beer, A Nieto.

Replacements: G Kessler, O Duran, M Sanguinetti, F Lamanna, A Alonso, J De Freitas, A Duran, F Bulanti.


From Belfast Telegraph