| 3°C Belfast

Jones blown away by how the local fans have taken to Welsh

Wales' World Cup campaign had a spectacular lift-off in Kitakyushu yesterday when 15,000 people attended an open training session.

Kitakyushu Stadium was packed to the rafters as tournament fever gripped a city that has been turned into a home from home for Wales' squad.

Former Wales captain and triple Grand Slam winner Ryan Jones has been a driving force in establishing strong rugby links between the Welsh Rugby Union and Kitakyushu.

He said: "I've never experienced anything like this in my career. It's astonishing and it has been really emotional.

"It's been like hosting a party. We got up this morning and we were saying, 'Oh, I hope it goes well today and people will turn up'.

"Then to see the queues and then to see the players' faces when they came out, it was just magic.

"It has exceeded all our expectations. But what has really warmed my heart is that it has shown how really strong the brand of Welsh rugby is. People know it's us, they love the colour red, but also how powerful rugby is."

Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.

Already have an account?

Belfast Telegraph