Luke Charteris enjoying support of a nation

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The Independent Online

Luke Charteris believes the fanatical support Wales' World Cup heroes have received is "an extra incentive" to continue their remarkable journey in New Zealand.

More than 50,000 people are expected at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday morning, British time, after snapping up free tickets for a big screen viewing of Wales' semi-final clash against France.



Other Wales supporters have flown to Auckland this week at considerable expense to watch the biggest game in Welsh rugby history.



"It is a big undertaking for people and it shows the support for us," Charteris said.



"Knowing all the effort our supporters are making and the excitement back home, it is an extra incentive for us to reach the final. It's the least we can do."



Lock Charteris has overcome a shoulder injury that forced him off against quarter-final opponents Ireland last weekend to take his place in the Wales second-row against Les Bleus.



Coach Warren Gatland, though, has made an enforced change behind the scrum, where fly-half Rhys Priestland misses out due to a shoulder problem and James Hook deputises.



Charteris delivered an outstanding 40-minute display against Ireland, making 16 tackles before exiting at half-time, but he played down the quality of his performance.



"That's just the way a game goes sometimes. If they keep running at you, you've got to tackle them and make as many as you can," added the Newport Gwent Dragons forward.



"The work-rate was a sign, in the first half, that Ireland had a fair bit of possession.



"It wasn't ideal. I would rather be making less tackles because it would show we were probably having more of the ball."



Charteris is now braced for a stern examination from France, whose recent record against Wales shows nine wins in 11 starts.



"We have to get parity or win the battle up front," he said. "Do that and we have seen what our backs can do.



"We will find out on Saturday whether we have got it right. We are always working on new things. We have the philosophy that if we do our jobs spot-on, we will do well.



"If we get our processes right, we are confident we are going to get the right result.



"There aren't any issues in the team. There are no egos and no arrogance, we've had a lot of fun and enjoyed the experience.



"We believed, coming into this tournament, we could win it.



"The coaches encourage us to play quite an expansive game. It's fun to play. I think that's the key, because if you weren't enjoying it, it would be a long campaign."



PA

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