Wales relishing Australia match says Huw Bennett

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The Independent Online

Huw Bennett says Wales will relish the prospect of tackling Australia in tomorrow's World Cup bronze medal match at Eden Park.

Wales bring the curtain down on their memorable World Cup campaign after a difficult week when they lost by a point to semi-final opponents France and had captain Sam Warburton sent off.

The third place play-off is a game neither team wanted to be involved in, but hooker Bennett is determined that Wales should bow out on a high.

"It is a big test of character for us," he said.

"It was a devastating blow to miss out on the final, but we have to move on and enjoy ourselves. We cannot dwell on France.

"We are involved in a play-off, and if you cannot get up for that then you are in the wrong job.

"You have to give the World Cup credit for what it is, and to be so close to making the final was heart-breaking. We only lost by one point, but we have moved on and we are relishing taking on Australia."

Bennett has been one of Wales' success stories at the tournament, moving seamlessly into a hooking role vacated by an injured Matthew Rees, while Richard Hibbard was also hurt before coach Warren Gatland's August squad announcement.

"With Matthew and Richard missing out because of injury, I have been able to stake my claim for the hooker's jersey," Bennett added.

"Matthew would have had a pivotal role as captain, but when he was ruled out that left a gap for me.

"Everyone has worked hard, but I have been lucky enough to get the jersey."

Wing George North, meanwhile, has vowed that Wales intend to "have a crack" against the Wallabies.

Wales will be without suspended skipper Warburton - prop Gethin Jenkins leads the team in his absence - but Gatland has retained 12 of the side that started against France.

"This is a young group of guys, and the way we are playing we are just enjoying our rugby," said 19-year-old wing North.

"That is going to be the key for us looking to the future.

"Everyone is excited to get a chance to play against a southern hemisphere side down in New Zealand. It is a great opportunity.

"There are very similar attributes in both the teams. We enjoy to play, throw the ball around and have a crack.

"Hopefully, it won't just be a boring 3-all game. Hopefully, it will be a good game to finish with, have a crack and enjoy it."