June International Tours

Welsh reflect on Brisbane battering

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Wales wing Chris Czekaj faces the prospect of an indefinite stay in hospital in Australia after suffering a suspected broken femur in the tourists’ 31-0 defeat in Brisbane on Saturday.

Wales skipper Gareth Thomas refused to use the horrific manner of the injury as an excuse, saying that as professionals the rest of the team put it to the back of their minds.

The 21-year-old Cardiff Blues star is now a doubt for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.

He suffered the injury – and there was no doubting its severity as replays on the stadium’s big screens confirmed even before he was carried off – in a tackle by hooker Stephen Moore.

“I could see the guy was in agony,” said Thomas.

“He’s a youngster and it’s a terrible injury and I just wanted him to know that when he was leaving I probably wouldn’t see him after the game and just wanted to tell him I was immensely proud of the effort, as I was able to say to the rest of the guys in the changing room afterwards.

“It’s going to be a tough time for him. It was amazing to see the Australian guys coming in to exchange jerseys afterwards and telling us to wish Chris all the best.

“I could easily use Chris’ injury as an excuse and say it affected us, but it didn’t. We knew it was a serious injury, but as a professional rugby player you’ve got a game to play.

“This sort of thing happens and you just have to put it to the back of your mind and get on with the game and I’m not going to use it as an excuse for our performance.”

Of the performance itself, Thomas said: “I’m down and the players are down and I don’t think we gave the best account of ourselves. I feel we’re better than that, but whether you win or lose you have to give credit to the opposition and it was a difficult game because we were constantly defending.

“We are disappointed but we’ll move on from this and we’ll go back and the coaches will do their job and decide what the World Cup squad is, but as captain of the squad I’m immensely proud of the boys in both games and the two-and-a-half weeks we’ve been together.”

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins admitted fatigue set in.

“There was fatigue in us and it was a case of us never getting into the game in terms of having a share of it. Possession was hard to come by,” said the Wales coach.

“We only had seven line-outs throughout the game and there were 17 free-kicks and penalties against us so we never had a chance get hold of the ball for any sustained amount of time.

“That meant we had to defend far too often and for far too long and it became one-way traffic in the last 20 minutes and to be fair to Australia they opened us up then.

“There was too much rugby back home in the last three weeks and we were always concerned coming into this game about the energy levels and how much we had left in us.

“It was a tough end to the season for us. But Australia are in a different place. They’re building towards the Tri-Nations and are looking at a building programme while we are looking at a wind-down programme and a pre-season.

“But we have to arrive in September [for the Rugby World Cup] ready for a one-off game. As much as I’ve got to congratulate Australia, we’ll be a different team come that game.”

 

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