I think all of us as mad rugby fans are now starting to feel the pressure and excitement that comes with our high expectations of Wales in the Rugby World Cup.
There have been so many great moments of hope and achievements over the years.
- Wales have contested every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987.The 1987 tournament was Wales’ most successful; they won all three pool matches and their quarter-final, before losing to the All Blacks in the semi-finals. They then faced Australia in the third place play-off match, which they won 22–21.
- In the next two tournaments in 1991 and 1995, Wales failed to progress beyond the pool stage, winning just one match in each tournament. They also became the first co host nation to not make it out of the pool stage in 1991.
- Both the 1999 and 2003 tournaments were more successful, with Wales qualifying for the quarter-finals both times. Wales hosted the event in 1999 and topped their pool only to lose to eventual winners Australia in the quarter-finals.
- In 2003, they finished second in their pool behind the All Blacks, and faced England in their quarter-final. They lost to England, the eventual champions, 28–17. Wales conceded 17 penalties, and their lack of discipline proved costly.
- In the 2007 World Cup, Wales again failed to progress from the pool stage. After a loss to Australia, and two wins against Japan and Canada, they faced Fiji for a place in the quarter-finals. The game started poorly for Wales who were behind 25–3 at half-time. They fought back to lead by three points with six minutes remaining, but Fiji then scored a try to win 38–34 and eliminated Wales from the tournament.
- At the 2011 World Cup, Wales reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1987. Playing the semi-finals against France, Wales lost 9–8, in a game overshadowed by the 18th-minute sending off of Wales’ captain Sam Warburton for a dangerous tackle against Vincent Clerc.
- At the 2015 World Cup Wales were in the same pool as Australia, England, Fiji and Uruguay. They finished second in the pool behind Australia and ahead of hosts England. South Africa defeated Wales in the quarter final
* all stats from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wales_national_rugby_union_team
This world cup will be of special interest and pride to the Quins as 5 of those chosen to represent Wales in Japan have been helped along the way by playing rugby for the Quins, some a lot of rugby, this being in the premiership along their development pathway.
They are Ken Owens and Ryan Elias (both Carmarthen Athletic Youth), Aled Davies and Cubby Boi Davies, (both Whitland Youth) and Gareth Davies, (Newcastle Emlyn Youth).
It’s unfortunate that Rob Evans, (Haverfordwest Youth) who played 3 solid seasons for us did not quite make the draw but could well be called down if there are injuries.
We are indeed very proud of these boys and so happy to have played an important part in their rugby career and yet very aware how their careers were created in their mother clubs.
We wish them and all the team all the very best in the battle ahead and who knows, perhaps if we win the Webb Ellis Cup, then sushi will become a favourite in Wales after battering it first!
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