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'You don’t learn a lot from winning constantly': How tough RWC exits 'build character'

By PA
Wales after losing to Argentina/ PA

Wales wing Josh Adams believes that World Cup co-captains Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake will be “massive figureheads” during the build-up to Australia 2027.

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The dust has yet to on Wales’ World Cup campaign in France, which was ended by quarter-final opponents Argentina.

And while the immediate reaction is one of major disappointment that Wales could not reach a third semi-final in the last four tournaments, a new generation of talent is emerging.

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Wales post-match presser 14-10-2023

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Wales post-match presser 14-10-2023

Morgan, 23, and 24-year-old Lake are at the forefront, having shone at their first World Cup through leadership and performances.

“We have two young captains in Dewi and Jac, and they have led us incredibly well and are a huge voice for us,” Adams said.

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“I have enjoyed playing under them and for those two especially, there are massive careers ahead for them.

“They will no doubt be in the next four-year (World Cup) cycle and they will be massive figureheads for a lot of young lads in this team moving forward.

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“I am sure they will drive the standards up even higher.”

Lake, meanwhile, has vowed that crestfallen Wales will kick on following the Argentina loss, which came after an unbeaten pool phase that delivered victories over Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal.

Wales face the Barbarians in Cardiff on November 4, then play opening Six Nations opponents Scotland three months later.

“Emotions go up and down, but it is tough to take,” Lake said.

“We were not given a lot of hope from people coming into this tournament. A lot of people said we were not going to get out of the group.

“We will learn a lot from this and a lot of boys are at their first World Cup.

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“You don’t learn a lot from winning constantly. Learning comes from losing games and seeing where you can get better and where you went wrong. These are the type of games that build character.

“A loss in a World Cup quarter-final with tears streaming down your face, that is a feeling you never want again. We will kick on from here.”

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One player no longer part of Wales’ plans is fly-half Dan Biggar, who has retired from Test rugby after winning 112 caps and scoring more than 600 points.

Whether any of his colleagues follow him into international retirement remains to be seen, but Toulon star Biggar’s 15-year impact on Wales has proved significant.

Lake added: “Any time you lose a figure like that it is a tough loss. He has given his time in Welsh rugby, he is a (caps) centurion, a Lions tourist, a leader, he has been unbelievable in a Lions and Wales jersey.

“What he has given to Wales with the sacrifices, he has taken hits like no other 10 I have seen in world rugby and a lot of people would agree with that.

“In terms of his leadership and speaking after games, we will miss him and I think he will miss us as well.

“He has been an unbelievable ambassador for Welsh rugby and has inspired a lot of people old and young.”

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