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Francis: Improvements needed for RWC

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Francis gunning for England revenge - 'Next weekend is a huge opportunity'

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Tomas Francis says Wales will target improvements in every area of their game as they prepare for a quickfire return Test match against England.

Wales’ opening World Cup warm-up clash ended in a 33-19 defeat at Twickenham. To make matters far worse, fly-half Gareth Anscombe suffered a serious knee ligament injury that has ruled him out of the tournament in Japan.

Anscombe joined No8 Taulupe Faletau (broken collarbone) in being sidelined from the competition, dealing Wales a second major injury blow in the space of 11 days.

But World Cup preparations continue at pace, with England arriving in Cardiff on Saturday and looking to inflict a first home defeat on Wales since they were beaten by New Zealand in November 2017.

Wales have reeled off 10 successive victories at the Principality Stadium since then, although their overall record 14-Test unbeaten run and hopes of becoming world rugby’s number one-ranked nation ended in south-west London.

“In the past 18 months, we’ve made very few unforced errors in this team and stuck to our processes,” said Wales and Exeter prop Francis. “(On Sunday), we either scored or dropped the ball, and we will go back and work on that. It’s stuff we can work on and fix.

“Every area of our game is an area for improvement after Sunday, and that includes the scrum and lineout. England got the better of us as a pack, and if we are going to win the World Cup we are going to have to improve on those areas.

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“In the first half we weren’t good enough, and we know that. Now, it’s about how we react and move forward. It’s an opportunity gone to assert our dominance, but we have a chance to do that on Saturday. Next weekend is a huge opportunity for us as a squad.”

Reflecting on the world rankings scenario, Francis added: “Would it have been nice to be number one? Yes. But does it matter at this point? Not really.

“It was nice to have a run of winning games, but that doesn’t matter now, and being at the top in six weeks or so is the aim. It’s where you finish in the tournament (World Cup) that counts.

“You always know that in your first Test match for a while it’s always going to be very physical. The first game of your pre-season is always very tough, and I guess we got caught a little cold.”

– Press Association

WATCH: Wales coach Warren Gatland and captain Alun Wyn Jones speak to the press following last Sunday’s defeat to England

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Francis gunning for England revenge - 'Next weekend is a huge opportunity'