Effort and hard work is Wales’ ‘bread and butter’ at World Cup – Mike Forshaw

Wales have made 506 tackles in their three World Cup pool games.

Andrew Baldock
Saturday 30 September 2023 14:41 BST
Wales assistant coach and defence specialist Mike Forshaw (David Davies/PA)
Wales assistant coach and defence specialist Mike Forshaw (David Davies/PA)

Mike Forshaw has described effort and hard work as Wales’ “bread and butter” as they build towards the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Wales were the first team to secure last-eight status, which they achieved following a record 40-6 victory over Pool C rivals Australia.

Japan or Argentina now await them in the knockout phase, although their one remaining group game against Georgia in Nantes next Saturday will see them guaranteed to progress as group winners if they triumph.

While Wales have scored 11 tries in the tournament so far, their defence – Forshaw’s specialist area – has been a dominant factor.

They have made 506 tackles in three matches, while four players – Jac Morgan, Gareth Thomas, Will Rowlands and Taulupe Faletau – are all among the competition’s top 20, individually.

“We’ve had a lot of tackling practice haven’t we?” Wales assistant coach Forshaw said.

“You have got to give the boys a bit of credit. I think at the weekend (against Australia), the first 20 minutes was up to around 75 tackles, compared with Australia’s 20-odd.

We have to work hard and that is the bread and butter for us at the moment

Mike Forshaw

“Sometimes we are going to have to defend, we are going to be under the pump.

“I understand that in this competition because there are good teams, but I would like to see us playing a bit more, having a bit more even-stevens of a game where we get a bit more time to express ourselves with the ball.

“But when we have not got the ball, it is about that switch of transition and how good we can be. I always say the defence is the start of our attack.

“The biggest thing I like coaching is effort. We have to work hard and that is the bread and butter for us at the moment. These lads have been brilliant.

“If you are under 10 penalties (conceded) in this game and you are under 10 turnovers (conceded), you more or less win the game.

“We were accurate, but I don’t want to get too carried away. We have got to repeat that.”

Wales’ players have returned to the training pitch following four days off and all attention is now on Georgia, a team that toppled them in Cardiff last November.

Whether head coach Warren Gatland makes changes remains to be seen, but it cannot be ruled out as Wales prepare for the World Cup’s business-end.

Forshaw added: “The last couple of days, I’ve watched their (Georgia’s) games and I think they can be dangerous.

“I think they throw the ball around well. They’ve got a very dangerous full-back. They have some heavy forwards around set-pieces. They get into your five-metre channel.

“It is how we manage that game. We won’t be taking them lightly, that is for sure.

“We’ve got a selection meeting on Sunday evening. I’ve got a couple of ideas, I’m sure that Warren has got a couple of ideas and some of the other staff.

“If I’m totally honest with you, I’m not sure on that question on what we will do with the team, but one thing is for sure, we will be a strong team.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in