Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Wales' Tomas Francis relishing forward battle against England

Tomas Francis says that Wales will have no fear when they tackle World Cup hosts and fellow Pool A heavyweights England at Twickenham next Saturday.

And Wales prop Francis believes stopping England's pack will be a key element of any successful victory bid.

Defeat for either team in five days' time would considerably dent their quarter-final hopes from a group that also includes twice world champions Australia.

And while both Wales and England warmed up for their 127th meeting with opening World Cup bonus-point wins against Uruguay and Fiji respectively, the stakes are about to increase considerably.

"I relish it, really. We know what's coming, and we are looking forward to it," said Exeter tighthead Francis, who looks set to start at Twickenham if Samson Lee does not recover in time from a tight calf muscle suffered during the Uruguay game.

"Playing in the Premiership, I have played against all of them pretty much, and I know what they can bring. We have got plenty to match them and even take them on, I think.

"I wouldn't say we have to stand up to them. We don't fear them at all. As a Welsh team, we don't care where we play - home or away. Our record shows we enjoy it.

"We go to London on Monday, and we are there ready for it. We don't need to get any motivation for it - everyone is up for it.

"England at Twickenham in their World Cup, it doesn't get much bigger than that."

York-born Francis, 23, whose grandmother hails from the same Swansea Valley village as celebrated Wales prop Adam Jones, won his third cap during the 54-9 success against Uruguay on Sunday.

And the way he has adapted to Test rugby - Francis only made his international debut three weeks ago - suggests he will not be found wanting in Twickenham's white-hot heat of battle.

"They (England) will want to take us on physically," he said. "If their pack gets dominance, they will back themselves.

"If we can match them and give our backs a platform, I would fancy our backs to knock them over.

"We cannot read too much into that (England's opening win against Fiji last Friday). There was a lot of emotion in that game for them - it would have been one of the biggest occasions for their guys.

"It was the same for us (against Uruguay). It is a game you need to come through. These sides are going to go for it, but we have (both) come through with wins and five points.

"We have to stop their pack. In the Six Nations, they played off their pack to get that dominance. If we can pressure their nine and 10 and get them nervy, it will be important. It's a big game."


From Belfast Telegraph