Rugby

Alex King wants Wales to keep standards high as they chase top spot in group

Wales attack coach Alex King is looking for his side to continue their momentum (David Davies/PA)
Wales attack coach Alex King is looking for his side to continue their momentum (David Davies/PA)

Alex King says that Wales are about maintaining high standards as they build towards a final Rugby World Cup pool game and potentially topping their group.

Wales’ appearance in a fourth successive World Cup quarter-final under head coach Warren Gatland was confirmed with a record 40-6 win against Australia.

And they now need a point from next Saturday’s appointment with Georgia in Nantes to guarantee winning Pool C.

Warren Gatland
Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to his starting line-up for next Saturday’s Rugby World Cup clash against Georgia (David Davies/PA)

Gatland has named his starting line-up three days earlier than he needed to, making six changes from the Wallabies encounter.

Hooker Dewi Lake will captain the team, with his co-skipper Jac Morgan rested from the matchday 23.

There are also starts for wing Rio Dyer, fly-half Gareth Anscombe, scrum-half Tomos Williams, lock Dafydd Jenkins and flanker Tommy Reffell.

Anscombe, who scored 23 points in the Australia match, starts instead of Dan Biggar.

Dewi Lake will captain Wales
Dewi Lake will captain Wales (Ben Birchall/PA)

Biggar went off early during the Wallabies clash after suffering a pectoral muscle strain.

Wales assistant coach King said: “We want to win the game and we want to carry the momentum of the last four weeks.

“We have got high standards, and it is important we adhere to them whoever we are playing. It was a step in the right direction, great to qualify, but we have got unfinished business for the weekend.

“We understand the threat Georgia pose, we understand what happened in Cardiff 11 months ago (Georgia beat Wales 13-12), the performance they put in against Fiji on Saturday.

“I know one of their coaches (Joe Worsley) very well, and he will have them absolutely firing on Saturday afternoon, that is for sure.

“I am going to try and meet up with him for a coffee on Friday and get some secrets out of him!

“He is a good friend, and to nil Fiji at half-time was a fantastic effort with all the threats they’ve got.”

Anscombe is handed the number 10 shirt, being partnered at half-back by Williams, who replaces Gareth Davies, with Dyer earning a start instead of Josh Adams, Lake in for Ryan Elias, Jenkins taking over from Adam Beard and Reffell replacing Morgan.

Wing Louis Rees-Zammit and number eight Taulupe Faletau will start their fourth successive games of the tournament.

There are opportunities among the replacements, meanwhile, for prop Nicky Smith, lock Christ Tshiunza and fly-half Sam Costelow.

On Biggar, King added: “He is just getting his recovery in after the slight injury he got against Australia.

“He is at the recovery stage, and it is just important he gets back ready for selection for the quarter-final.

Dan Biggar
Dan Biggar was injured against Australia (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“(Gareth) was great (against Australia). He came on early, and guys on the bench have got such an important role to be ready to go straightaway.

“You have got to know your role and be ready to step in at any moment, and that is the strength of this squad.

“Everything has to be at a good score – attack, defence, kicking game, forwards – to win these games, and against Australia it all came together.”