Warren Gatland highlights hard work as Wales aim to continue progress

Warren Gatland says there is no secret to Wales’ Rugby World Cup consistency as they build towards a fourth successive quarter-final appearance under his direction.

Wales need a point from their final Pool C game against Georgia on Saturday to top their group.

A record 40-6 victory over Australia in the previous fixture secured a last-eight spot, with Argentina or Japan now awaiting them.

Wales made two semi-final exits and suffered one quarter-final defeat during Gatland’s first stint as Wales head coach, and they are once again on a similar path.

“I don’t think there is any secret, it’s just hard work,” head coach Gatland said.

“We’ve all spoken in the past about the opportunities in World Cup years, with the extended preparation and time you get with the players, and the detail you can put into things.

“These guys have worked extremely hard in the (training) camps we’ve had, which has put us in good stead and good shape in terms of being able to take our game forward, being confident and comfortable playing for 80 minutes.

“We are excited about where we are, and we are looking forward to going deep into this tournament.

“The message has been about continuing to improve as a side, just taking one game at a time.

Georgia beat Wales 13-12 when the countries last met in Cardiff 11 months ago, and while Gatland says that game has had no bearing on Welsh preparations, he readily voiced his admiration for Georgia.

“We had a little bit of a history lesson this morning before training,” he added. “They are a small nation, a proud nation.

“We like to think when we are at our best it is sometimes with our backs to the wall, and they epitomise that sort of attitude.

“When the Vikings came to England, they didn’t want to come across the border to fight the Welsh because of how mad they were and how much they wanted to defend their own territory and space.

“The Georgians are very much like that. If you look at their history, they’ve had their own battles and wars as well. We are very aware of that and how proud they are as a people.”

Wales v Georgia – Autumn International – Principality Stadium
Georgia’s players celebrate victory at Cardiff in November (PA)

“In all these games, it doesn’t matter who you are playing against.

“In that first 20 minutes of the game it can be pretty tight because everyone is pumped up. Everyone is fresh and making things difficult.

“It is about making sure we are accurate, and that is definitely something we’ve worked on.

“We talked about becoming a tough team to beat, and if you are a tough team to beat then often the performances and results take care of themselves.”

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