Wales are one of rugby union’s greatest sides and will be quietly confident of their chances in this year’s Rugby World Cup. In their opening fixture, Warren Gatland’s men earned a convincing 54-9 victory over Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium but much tougher fixtures lie ahead. Wales will face England at Twickenham tomorrow while they will also face Australia in the group stages too. England are currently heavy favourites to beat the Welsh but many punters wont see it that way, England’s price of 1/3 (with Coral) does seem a little harsh on the Welsh after their domination of Uruguay in the opening game) To advance past the primary stage of the competition, it’s likely that Wales will have to win at least once against either of these teams.
These two fixtures will not only define Wales’ chances in the competition but could also reveal a lot more about their serious injury problems. Wales had already lost both Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb before the start of the tournament while Cory Allen, who scored a hat-trick against Uruguay, has also been ruled out after suffering a hamstring strain.
While these injuries have somewhat hindered Wales’ chances of victory at this year’s tournament, it hasn’t completely silenced the hopes of their supporters. Gatland has a number of top players at his disposal and Wales will still believe that they are capable of beating either England or Australia.
The Welsh are a proud bunch and will be keen to follow the example of the 2013 Six Nations side that earned a thumping 30-3 victory over England. Sam Warburton, Jamie Roberts and Taulupe Faletau are all experienced professionals and these stars will help to keep the younger players calm and composed both on and off the field.
Prior to the competition, Wales were very excited about their chances and Gatland’s men could still pull a shock victory out of the bag. They reached the semi-finals back in 2011, only to be denied by a controversial red card to Warburton midway through the first half. While Wales showed passion and commitment that day, they suffered late on and crashed out at the final hurdle.
Wales will have to be at their very best if they are to challenge the likes of England and Australia this year but they are certainly capable of doing so. Gatland’s men know what it takes to win at Twickenham Stadium and, with a quarter of the ground expected to be supporting Wales, they will have a fair amount of support. With a bit of luck, Wales will progress through the group stages and from there, it’s anybody’s guess.