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Alex King warns Wales to watch out for England backlash after Cardiff defeat

07 Aug 2023 4 minute read
Wales attack coach Alex King. Photo David Davies PA Images

Attack coach Alex King has warned Wales that England will be “hurting” ahead of their Twickenham rematch at the weekend.

England were underwhelming in Saturday’s 20-9 defeat to Wales in Cardiff and received strong media criticism for that poor display ahead of head coach Steve Borthwick naming his 33-man World Cup squad on Monday.

The World Cup countdown continues in Twickenham this weekend as the two sides meet again, with Wales clearly expecting a backlash from Borthwick’s men.

Hurting

“We know they’ll be hurting after the weekend,” said former England outside-half King.

“I’ve read a bit of the English press and they’ve not been too kind to them.

“We know they’ve got players to come back. Everyone is at slightly different points of their development.

“This is all preparation for something that is going to kick off in a month’s time in France. They’ve got some players to come back in and we’ll concentrate on ourselves and try and improve on some areas.”

Welsh rugby had spent 2023 largely in the doldrums before Saturday’s victory over their biggest rivals.

Shook by scandal off the field and struggling for victories on it, there has been little optimism inside or outside Wales that Warren Gatland’s side can make a major impact at the World Cup next month.

But, having withstood concerted England pressure in the first half, tries from Gareth Davies and George North suggested that Gatland’s pre-match words that his side will do “something special” at the World Cup may have some substance.

Identity

King said: “Even through the Six Nations (when Wales won only once) towards the end we were starting to get an identity of what we were trying to do.

“It was a tough time for Welsh rugby and there was a lot going on off the field, but the boys stuck together.

“This group has been working for 11 weeks and it was great to see some of the stuff we’ve been working on come through.

“It was certainly a good start both sides of the ball. We were resilient and stayed in the fight first half when we were under the cosh.

“Then when we got the chance second half we were pretty accurate and probably left two or three out there as well.”

Louis Rees-Zammit was denied a spectacular third try when he was adjudged to have knocked on, harshly in the view of some observers.

The Gloucester wing certainly possesses the X-factor to trouble defences and excite crowds and King believes the Welsh back division is full of flair.

He said: “When Rio (Dyer), Louis and ‘Pens’ (Leigh Halfpenny) get the ball there’s an excitement and that’s how we want to play, with a tactical brain as well.

“There’s a balance there underpinned by good defence and a good set-piece, and if we want to be successful over the next two months all parts of our game must be functioning.

“There were moments in that second half that were testament to Welsh rugby which, to me, is about ball movement, speedy backs and getting the crowd excited.

“I’ve seen the quality and level of work we’ve done over the last 11 weeks. I was pleased with the attitude and mindset to really go and play.”

Wales held an open training session in front of nearly 10,000 fans at the Principality Stadium on Monday.

Hooker Ryan Elias and second row Dafydd Jenkins were missing after picking up injuries against England, although neither are understood to be serious enough to put their World Cup ambitions at risk.

Injured backs Gareth Anscombe and Johnny Williams were also missing from the session, while number eight Taulupe Faletau played a limited role.


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James brown
8 months ago

None of my business!

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