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Wales on the verge of something special

Wales on the verge of something special

Wales clinched top spot in Pool D with victory over Uruguay. ©INPHO/Craig Mercer

Wales are now just 240 minutes away from achieving something special.

That was the message from Alun Wyn Jones as they set up a quarter-final against France with a fourth pool win from four.

Jones did not even play in the 35-13 win over Uruguay, but it is his message that is driving this team on, as Warren Gatland explained.

He said: “Alun Wyn Jones has said that it’s 240 minutes left to do something special. For us that is something to focus on. We’re pleased with what we’ve achieved in the last couple of years.

“There’s a lot of confidence in the team that we have that belief against any side that if we play well enough on the day, we are capable of beating them. We know how hard we’ve worked. There’s a lot of good teams but you’ve got to make the most of your opportunities and hopefully you get a little bit of luck and the bounce of a ball.

“There’s a massive amount of motivation for this quarter-final because if you win that you know you’re here until the end of the tournament. These guys don’t want to be going home.”

Wales were forced to work hard against Uruguay, leading just 7-6 at the break thanks to Nicky Smith’s try.

A second from Josh Adams after the break gave them some breathing space, and they were able to run in five in total, albeit in a disjointed display.

The clash with France will be very different. Wales had changed 13 players for this game because of a four-day turnaround from their win over Fiji, including resting Jones.

Wales’ recent record against Les Bleus is a good one, including their remarkable comeback victory in Paris in February.

Despite that, Gatland is expecting them to be a step up on the side that went down during the Championship.

He added: “We’ve had a good record against France. They are traditionally a tournament team.

“In World Cups when everyone writes them off, they seem to be able to pull off a performance that no one expects.

“They have some quality individuals and they seem to thrive in quarter-final and semi-final stages. It will be a tough physical game. We seem to play better against the better sides and they will be tough. It will be a heck of a game on Sunday.”

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