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How Wales and Georgia's fighting history is similar - Warren Gatland

By PA
Wales Team Announcement - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Stade de la Beaujoire - Thursday 5th October

Warren Gatland says there is no secret to Wales’ Rugby World Cup consistency as they build towards a fourth successive quarter-final appearance under his direction.

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Wales need a point from their final Pool C game against Georgia on Saturday to top their group.

A record 40-6 victory over Australia in the previous fixture secured a last-eight spot, with Argentina or Japan now awaiting them.

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Wales
43 - 19
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Georgia
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Wales made two semi-final exits and suffered one quarter-final defeat during Gatland’s first stint as Wales head coach, and they are once again on a similar path.

“I don’t think there is any secret, it’s just hard work,” head coach Gatland said.

“We’ve all spoken in the past about the opportunities in World Cup years, with the extended preparation and time you get with the players, and the detail you can put into things.

“These guys have worked extremely hard in the (training) camps we’ve had, which has put us in good stead and good shape in terms of being able to take our game forward, being confident and comfortable playing for 80 minutes.

“We are excited about where we are, and we are looking forward to going deep into this tournament.

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“The message has been about continuing to improve as a side, just taking one game at a time.

“We know we are in the quarter-finals, but we want to finish top of the group and it is trying to win four from four.”

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Georgia beat Wales 13-12 when the countries last met in Cardiff 11 months ago, and while Gatland says that game has had no bearing on Welsh preparations, he readily voiced his admiration for Georgia.

“We had a little bit of a history lesson this morning before training,” he added. “They are a small nation, a proud nation.

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“We like to think when we are at our best it is sometimes with our backs to the wall, and they epitomise that sort of attitude.

“When the Vikings came to England, they didn’t want to come across the border to fight the Welsh because of how mad they were and how much they wanted to defend their own territory and space.

“The Georgians are very much like that. If you look at their history, they’ve had their own battles and wars as well. We are very aware of that and how proud they are as a people.”

Asked about November’s game, Gatland said: “We are not looking back. We haven’t spoken about that as a group at all. We are just completely looking forward from our own perspective.

“In all these games, it doesn’t matter who you are playing against.

“In that first 20 minutes of the game it can be pretty tight because everyone is pumped up. Everyone is fresh and making things difficult.

“It is about making sure we are accurate, and that is definitely something we’ve worked on.

“We talked about becoming a tough team to beat, and if you are a tough team to beat then often the performances and results take care of themselves.”

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Webzed 288 days ago

Will be a good game.

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Shaylen 4 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 10 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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