- 14 Sep 07, 02:17 PM
Swansea - Since the World Cup pools were drawn however many months ago, both Wales and Australia put a pin in 15 September 2007, identifying it as the day when the four-year cycle of building for a World Cup would end.
It would end because it was the day when there would be no more excuses: no more blooding young players, no more trying new combinations and no more considering a loss as anything but failure. It would be time to deliver –
and here we are.
It’s no secret that both teams consider the outcome of the game crucial to their progression in the competition with both coveting a quarter-final berth against England or even Samoa, assuming the Springboks come through Friday’s encounter with the English unscathed.
Wales have every reason to be confident if recent clashes between the teams at the Millennium Stadium are anything to go by. In the last two games with the Wallabies we have come away with a win and a draw in a match we should also have won.
Indeed, Australia’s coach John Connolly has opened up in the press this week about how unfair the IRB have been in awarding Wales a ‘home tie’ during a World Cup supposedly being hosted by France. He insists that the Millennium Stadium factor will hand Wales a considerable advantage. All I can say is 'let’s hope so John, let’s hope so!'
There has been much made of Gareth’s selection for the game but relentless debate on the issue from now until kick-off is futile. Each of the 30 players that make up are there on merit and the squad, whichever 15 had been chosen to run out onto the field on Saturday, will not let anybody down.
Gareth also has the added luxury of seven replacements who each have the ability to come on and have a significant impact on the course of the game - the importance of which was clearly evident against Canada.
What the boys need now is the support of a nation to carry them through because, believe me, it can make all the difference. So for the 70-odd thousand of you lucky enough to be there on Saturday, let's shout, cheer and
sing them over the line! Good luck boys, you can do it!
On a lighter note, I enjoyed hearing about Dwayne Peel’s new room-mate during the week. Top marks to Mark Jones for the prank of the World Cup so far! I just hope his sheep back home don’t find out he has been frolicking with what’s on offer in France!
Full marks also go to the Americans and the Tongans who, following my call for a better set of hair-dos than those in the Welsh squad in a previous blog, battled it out this week sporting an array of the most outrageous barnets a World Cup has ever seen. Overall prize I think goes to the Tongans for now though and it’ll take something quite bizarre to wrestle it from them!
Let’s hope for another enthralling weekend of matches and most of all a Welsh win! Keep looking out for my comments here on the BBC.
Ciao for now.
Ryan Jones plays number eight for Wales but misses the World Cup through injury.