In the electrifying clash between Wales and Fiji at the Rugby World Cup 2023, one name stood out amidst the thunderous tackles and breathtaking tries – Will Rowlands. With 27 tackles to his name, Rowlands was a defensive force to be reckoned with, setting a new World Cup record of 253 tackles completed by the Welsh team. Yet, as the applause rained down on the towering lock, Rowlands humbly downplayed his heroic performance.
“I always find it a bit weird when the number of tackles becomes the headline because you defend in a system,” said Rowlands, his modesty shining through like a beacon in a sea of praise. “Guys run at you and you tackle them. It’s nice, people say nice things – but I see it as doing my job for the team.”
Wales, who had soared to an 18-point lead, found themselves in a nail-biting tussle as Fiji mounted a ferocious fightback. The final scoreline, 32-26 in favor of Wales, signified a bonus-point victory but also a sense of relief. Rowlands, however, remained focused on the bigger picture.
“Five points against the Fijians is fantastic for us,” he acknowledged. “We’d gone into the World Cup feeling pretty confident – we’d done some good work and we’re in a good place going into the games physically. It was a big first game for us to play Fiji. They are a dangerous team. To get a win is fantastic and now we focus on the next game with Portugal this weekend and we’ll try and do the same again.”
As Rowlands spoke about the challenges ahead, it was evident that his commitment to the team’s success overshadowed any personal accolades. He reflected on the physicality of the match and the team’s readiness for the upcoming clash with Portugal.
Rowlands, who recently left Dragons to join Racing Metro, has been a stalwart for Wales, passing the 25-cap threshold during the World Cup warm-ups in August. This milestone allows him to continue representing his country despite playing club rugby outside of Wales. His excitement for the World Cup experience in France was palpable.
“The excitement around the World Cup everywhere you go in France is amazing,” Rowlands shared. “There are loads of Welsh fans and French people supporting us too. It’s been a really amazing experience so far and made me very excited to play a bit more rugby in France in the next few years.”
This World Cup marks Rowlands’ debut on rugby’s grandest stage, and he’s relishing the opportunity to work with renowned coach Warren Gatland. The confidence in Gatland’s plan and coaching staff has been a driving force for Rowlands and the entire squad.
“This is my first experience of working with Gats, and I think that’s definitely one of the things I’ve felt in the group, that there is a big confidence in his plan and the coaches in general,” Rowlands affirmed. “It instils a confidence and belief in the group when we play at our best.”
With the upcoming clash against Portugal on the horizon, Rowlands and the Welsh team are gearing up for another exhilarating chapter in their Rugby World Cup journey. While Rowlands may not seek plaudits, his dedication and tenacity on the field have undoubtedly left an indelible mark in the hearts of rugby enthusiasts worldwide. As the Welsh team continues their quest for glory, fans eagerly anticipate the next thrilling installment of their World Cup campaign.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rugby World Cup 2023 Performance
What was the key highlight of Will Rowlands’ performance in the Rugby World Cup 2023 opener against Fiji?
Will Rowlands’ standout performance in the Rugby World Cup 2023 opener was his exceptional defensive display. He made 27 tackles during the match, contributing to Wales completing a World Cup record of 253 tackles as a team.
How did Will Rowlands react to the praise for his tackling performance?
Despite the accolades and praise for his heroic defensive performance, Will Rowlands remained modest and downplayed the attention. He mentioned that he sees his tackles as part of his job for the team and emphasized the collective defensive effort rather than individual recognition.
What was the final score of the match between Wales and Fiji in the Rugby World Cup 2023 opener?
The final score of the thrilling encounter between Wales and Fiji was 32-26 in favor of Wales. This victory represented a bonus-point win for the Welsh team.
What are Will Rowlands and the Welsh team’s thoughts on their performance and upcoming matches?
Will Rowlands and the Welsh team expressed satisfaction with their performance against Fiji, highlighting that they executed many aspects of their game plan effectively. They acknowledged the challenge posed by Fiji and are now focusing on their next match against Portugal, aiming to replicate their success.
What is the significance of Will Rowlands passing the 25-cap threshold during the World Cup warm-ups?
Passing the 25-cap threshold during the World Cup warm-ups means that Will Rowlands is eligible to continue playing international rugby for Wales, even though he plays his club rugby outside of Wales, having recently joined Racing Metro.
How has the Rugby World Cup 2023 experience been for Will Rowlands and the Welsh team in France?
Will Rowlands shared his excitement about the World Cup experience in France, emphasizing the fantastic support from both Welsh fans and the local French populace. He also expressed his anticipation for playing rugby in France in the coming years.
Who is the coach of the Welsh team in the Rugby World Cup 2023?
Warren Gatland is the coach of the Welsh team in the Rugby World Cup 2023, and Will Rowlands expressed confidence in Gatland’s coaching plan and the coaching staff, which has boosted the team’s belief in their abilities.
What can fans expect from Wales in their upcoming match against Portugal?
As Wales prepares to face Portugal in their next match, fans can anticipate another exciting chapter in their World Cup journey. While Will Rowlands may not seek individual praise, his dedication and performance on the field are sure to be integral to the team’s success.
More about Rugby World Cup 2023 Performance
- Rugby World Cup 2023 Official Website: For comprehensive information on the Rugby World Cup 2023, including schedules, results, and team details.
- BBC Sport: A trusted source for sports news, including coverage of the Rugby World Cup 2023 and Will Rowlands’ performance.
- Wales Rugby Union: The official website of the Wales Rugby Union, offering insights into the national team, players, and fixtures.
- Racing Metro 92 Official Website: For updates on Will Rowlands’ club rugby journey with Racing Metro 92 in France.
- Warren Gatland Profile: To learn more about Warren Gatland, the coach of the Welsh team at the Rugby World Cup 2023.
- Portugal Rugby: For information on the Portugal national rugby team and their participation in the Rugby World Cup 2023.