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Wales forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys urges pack to be ‘accurate and relentless’ against Fiji

06 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Wales forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys (left) and head coach Warren Gatland image by Adam Davy, PA Images

Jonathan Humphreys wants the Wales forwards to be remembered for accuracy and a relentless approach at the Rugby World Cup.

The Wales pack can expect an immediate test of its capability against opening Pool C opponents Fiji in Bordeaux on Sunday.

While Fiji are renowned for players with dazzling skills, their set-piece game has improved considerably under head coach Simon Raiwalui.

Georgia’s revered forward power awaits Wales in their final group game, with Australia also likely to pose plenty of questions during what will be a fiercely-contested pool.

“We have been working for 16 weeks towards a goal, which is this game,” Wales assistant coach and forwards specialist Humphreys said.

“We’ve tried lots of combinations out and a few different things. Those three (warm-up) games allowed us to do that.

“We are well aware this is the judgement time for us. We feel we are pretty well-prepared and we know what’s coming.

“Two words would be accurate and relentless in everything you do, on the field and off the field.”

Humphreys and his fellow Wales coaches were at Twickenham last month when Fiji claimed a famous 30-22 victory over England.


He added: “I was really impressed with them. They went behind early, came back at them (England) and they have got some incredibly powerful runners who are tough to stop.

“Physically, they are in incredible shape and they are going to be a tough, tough challenge for us.

“They have had five or six warm-up games, and the set-piece is a strength of theirs at the moment.

“We are well aware of what’s coming, we know hopefully what they are about and we have prepared for it.”

Wales boss Warren Gatland has reported a clean bill of health among the 33-strong World Cup squad after a number of players had been sidelined due to knocks.

That list included hookers Dewi Lake (knee) and Ryan Elias (hamstring), while star number eight Taulupe Faletau took no part in the warm-up schedule because of a calf muscle issue.

“In fairness to our medical staff, when they did pick up the injuries the return dates were spot-on really,” Humphreys said. “It has been good to have everyone available for selection.

“We are pretty confident in our ability and what we can achieve. It’s about going out there and doing it, and that is the point we are at right now.

“We are in a good spot. Everybody is a bit on edge, but in a good way, and training this morning was like that. It has been a long time getting here.”

The hot weather in France continues to be a major talking point, with tournament bosses understood to be considering implementing player drinks breaks during games.

Temperatures at Wales’ training base in Versailles have not dipped below 32 degrees this week, while Bordeaux is set to be even warmer.

Wales, though, feel ready for any eventuality, having prepared at punishing training camps in Switzerland and Turkey for the competition.

Prop Dillon Lewis said: “We spent a bit of time in Turkey where it was a fair bit warmer than here.

“It was quite good we got that in the bank early and it allows us to adapt to this a bit quicker, and not affect us as much as it could have done.”

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