Mike Forshaw expecting ‘ferocious 80 minutes’ when Wales face Georgia
Defence coach Mike Forshaw has predicted a “ferocious 80 minutes” when Wales look to maintain their unbeaten Rugby World Cup campaign on Saturday.
Wales qualified for the quarter-finals with victory over Australia 12 days ago, and they need a point against Georgia at Stade de la Beaujoire to finish top of Pool C.
Argentina or Japan await in the last eight, with Wales heading to Marseille as firm favourites to secure a World Cup semi-final spot for the third time under head coach Warren Gatland.
Georgia, though, evoke painful memories for Wales, having suffered a shock 13-12 home defeat against them during last year’s autumn internationals.
Twelve of Gatland’s World Cup squad were involved that day, while four players from the starting line-up 11 months ago feature again – Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Tomos Williams and Gareth Thomas.
“We are expecting physicality from them – they have always been renowned for a good pack of forwards,” Wales assistant coach and defence specialist Forshaw said.
“They have got some very dangerous backs, and they are a team that is growing. We will have to be at our best to get what we want to get out of the game tomorrow.
“This group has been pretty tough. We’ve gone about our business, and We have respected the opposition in this group – we’ve had to tough some results out.
“We expect them to be very tough to break down, and we have talked about ways around that. It is going to be a very physical game, Georgia are a very physical team.
“Whoever comes next, we will prepare exactly the same, whether it’s Argentina or Japan, two very proud nations.
“In the short term, tomorrow is the big goal for us. We are expecting a ferocious 80 minutes in a very hot stadium.”
Georgia are already out of the tournament following defeats against Australia and Fiji that sandwiched a draw with Portugal.
And while they will undoubtedly test Wales physically, the game represents another opportunity for Wales to showcase their rich vein of form.
Lock Will Rowlands added: “There have been some ups and downs the last few years, but everyone in this squad was confident we are a better team than we have shown at points.
“We wanted to come into this World Cup and just keep getting better and deliver performances we can be proud of and the Welsh public can be proud of.”
Wales only avoided propping up the Six Nations table last season by defeating Italy in Rome, underlining how impressive the transformation has been.
Gatland said: “The boys are implementing the game-plans we have put together outstandingly well.
“They have clarity about what they are trying to do and trying to achieve. I have been really impressed with their attitude, their focus and the way they have gone out and performed in the games.
“I thought one of the most pleasing bits against Australia was that we gave away less than 10 penalties. It was nine penalties, and we had nine turnovers in the game.
“When you are playing a quality side like Australia and you only have nine turnovers and nine penalties you give yourself a pretty good opportunity to win the game.
“As a squad I think we are in an outstanding place at the moment in terms of the morale in the squad and the banter that is going on behind the scenes.
“There is a lot of mickey-taking when it is required – not just the players, but the coaches as well. There is a really nice balance between hard work and having fun.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.