MX23RW : Friday, July 30 14:09:47| >> :600:1563787:1563787:

Gareth Anscombe backs Grand Slam winners Wales to "ruffle feathers" at World Cup

Anscombe backs Wales to
© Reuters
Wales' Six Nations title and Grand Slam triumph saw them climb to second in the world rankings.

Gareth Anscombe says Six Nations champions Wales have reason to believe they can "ruffle a few feathers" at the World Cup later this year.

The Grand Slam winners have twice been World Cup semi-finalists – at the inaugural tournament 31 years ago, and in 2011, when they lost by a point to France after skipper Sam Warburton was sent off.

Many pundits are tipping Wales to at least match that feat in Japan following their Six Nations success and moving second behind New Zealand on rugby's official world rankings list.

Wales stretched their winning run to clinch the Grand Slam
Wales stretched their winning run to clinch the Grand Slam (Adam Davy/PA)

If Anscombe and company win their pool – one that includes Australia and Fiji – France or Argentina are potential quarter-final opponents, then a possible last-four clash against Ireland or South Africa, should they progress.

Leave the group as runners-up, though, and Wales' degree of difficulty increases, with England and the All Blacks likely to be looming.

"The thing with World Cups is that you need an ounce of luck," said Wales fly-half Anscombe, whose 20-point haul underpinned a Grand Slam-clinching victory over Ireland last weekend.

"You can be a good team and still get a bad call here or there, a bounce of the ball and a few injuries, and you don't quite make it.

"We are fairly confident in what we can do, I think we have reason to believe we can go there and ruffle a few feathers.

"With the World Cup, it is about getting out of the pool, and then in knockout rugby anything can happen.

"Like 'Gats' (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) has said, we have a habit of winning at the moment. Hopefully, that holds us in good stead, come Japan."

Wales have won their last 14 Tests – an ongoing national record – leaving them just four more victories short of equalling the Tier One world-best run that is jointly held by England and New Zealand.

Their next game is a World Cup warm-up clash against England at Twickenham on August 11, by which time, tournament preparations will be well advanced.

"I guess it (winning Six Nations) might come with a bit of added pressure," Anscombe added.

Anscombe was instrumental in Wales' Grand Slam success
Anscombe was instrumental in Wales' Grand Slam success (David Davies/PA)

"For some reason, I think we have always been able to slip under the radar and I guess maybe for some reason there is a consensus among the rugby public that they don't rate us.

"That probably suits us down to the ground. We just try to keep our heads down, we work extremely hard for each other and we are a tight group. We know what we are capable of.

"There will be some added pressure no doubt, but we have every right to go to Japan with a hell of a lot of confidence and see what happens.

Warren Gatland is set to leave his post after the World Cup
Warren Gatland is set to leave his post after the World Cup (David Davies/PA)

"We've got so much competition for places. Our squad depth has grown tremendously, and we've got three or four guys who can really do a job in every position.

"We are building well, we've had a good period, and it has been nice to have this run of 14 wins. More so, when we finish our careers we can look back and say we were part of something pretty special.

"Come Japan, it all counts for nothing, and we are a pretty level-headed group. We will enjoy this, and then come back together in June or July and start focusing for a big six months."

ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'});
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Andrew Baldock, Press Association Sport Rugby Union Correspondent');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '2c3c5dc5-511f-4ae7-8131-60f87940afdc');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:uk');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:rugby-union');
ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + + location.hash), 'title': 'Anscombe hopeful Wales can keep their winning habit going at the World Cup'});

ID:354176: cacheID:354176:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:11082:
Restore Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Rugby Union generic
Read Next:
Rugby World Cup: What awaits for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales?

rhs 2.0
Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States14161141
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia10141034
Great BritainGreat Britain69924
Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!