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Hansen: Wales in good shape
8 February 2004 11:50am
Steve Hansen believes the improved showing from Wales' regional sides in the European Cup can only be good news for the national team.
Hansen accepts there will be considerable expectancy from the Welsh public on his team, who picked up the wooden spoon in the 2003 championship.
However, he believes with the success enjoyed by the likes of Brett Cockbain at Celtic Warriors and the Llanelli Scarlets duo Robin McBryde and Daffyd Jones can only be good news for Wales' prospects.
"In the short term, regional rugby has sharpened up a few attitudes," said New Zealander Hansen.
"It has put a knife-edge into rugby and it is going to help our young players come through.
"This is the second best European Cup we have ever had in Wales, with 14 wins in the group stages and that says a lot because it has probably been the toughest and most competitive ever.
"You had Llanelli winning at Northampton, the Celtic Warriors beating Wasps, the Gwent Dragons beating Stade Francis, so regional rugby is already showing progress."
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