Rugby Union

Justin Tipuric expects nervous wait for squad announcement

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Justin Tipuric believes that nerves will be evident in the Wales camp this week as head coach Warren Gatland prepares to make his first pre-World Cup player cut.

Tipuric and company will arrive in north Wales for a three-day training camp knowing that Gatland intends to reduce his training squad by possibly up to 10 personnel.

It means the World Cup dream is about to end for some as the countdown continues towards Gatland's final 31-man World Cup squad announcement later this month.


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"I think everyone is nervous," said flanker Tipuric, who capped an outstanding individual display by scoring one of Wales' three tries in a 35-21 World Cup warm-up defeat against Millennium Stadium visitors Ireland.

"There are ups and downs, and you always have your fingers crossed that you will be involved. This is where rugby becomes a tough time if you are not involved in it."

While there are not expected to be any surprises in terms of Gatland's initial squad reduction, it will certainly focus minds during Wales' short stint in Colwyn Bay.

"We will probably reduce it to 36 or 38, around about those sorts of numbers, towards the end of the week," Gatland said.

"This (Ireland game) was an opportunity for a lot of players to go out there and perform, so it will definitely have relevance. It was always the plan to give everyone a good run-out - you want to give players an opportunity.

"I was disappointed with the way we played in that first-half. We scored a couple of nice tries in the end, but you can't commit that many turnovers against a side like Ireland. We gifted them quite a lot of soft points really."

Wales were out of the contest at 25-0 adrift after conceding early tries scored by Jamie Heaslip, Darren Cave and Keith Earls.

Although the home team rallied through touchdowns from Richard Hibbard, Tipuric and Alex Cuthbert, there could be no complaints after a flat performance notable for the lack of tactical control supplied by half-backs James Hook and Mike Phillips.

Tipuric said: "It's frustrating, and never nice to lose a Test match. There were too many errors, and Ireland made us pay for them.

"In the first-half, every time we knocked the ball on or lost it in the contact area, they turned us over and they were the ones putting the points on the board. If you can't look after the ball in a game of rugby at international level, you pay for it.

"It was a bit of a stop-start game, and we would have liked to have kept the tempo a bit higher. But, whether it was because of a few knock-ons, injuries, scrums or whatever, we couldn't keep that tempo as high as we like.

"Don't get me wrong, you want to win every Test, and it's always frustrating when you lose. But we are in a conditioning block, and we can see where we are now. We can improve from this and get better and better as we move on.

"When you play for Wales, you have to be the fittest and strongest you can be, so I think there is a bit more of that to come and a lot more rugby, which is part of the programme."

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Wales Rugby
Rugby Union
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