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What did we learn from World Cup warm-up?

Conclusion of Traditional World Cup Warm-Up Double Header

The customary two-match warm-up series between Wales and England leading up to the World Cup has concluded once again, with the familiar outcomes prevailing – Wales securing victory in Cardiff and England emerging triumphant at Twickenham. These matches serve as vital platforms for both teams to fine-tune their preparations ahead of the upcoming tournament in France.

Wales has one remaining warm-up fixture scheduled against reigning world champions South Africa in Cardiff on 19 August. Following this match, Warren Gatland, Wales’ head coach, will finalize his 33-man squad just two days later.

Reflecting on the events of the opening warm-up game, a 20-9 victory for Wales in Cardiff, Gatland sought to extract valuable insights from the subsequent 19-17 defeat at Twickenham. The latter match witnessed one of the most remarkable final quarters in recent memory, including a significant incident involving Owen Farrell’s red card.

Gatland’s Frustration and Insights
Warren Gatland, a seasoned figure preparing for his fourth World Cup as Wales’ head coach, openly expressed his frustration with his team’s performance during the final quarter at Twickenham. Despite establishing a commendable 17-9 lead, Wales faltered as England found a way to capitalize on their vulnerabilities.

What did we learn from World Cup warm-up?

The turning point of the match saw England reduced to 12 men due to the absence of Farrell, Ellis Genge, and Freddie Steward. However, Wales’ response was marred by a lapse in judgment, conceding a penalty immediately after kick-off in their own 22. Maro Itoje’s subsequent try from a driving line-out, even with England’s numerical disadvantage, highlighted a concerning lack of composure on Wales’ part.

Gatland’s Displeasure and Lessons Learned
The disparity between Wales’ composed performance in Cardiff and their collapse at Twickenham was stark, prompting visible frustration from Gatland. He acknowledged that this contrast provided significant insights into the character and capabilities of his players, potentially influencing World Cup selections.

Gatland aims to transform this disappointment into a valuable learning experience, hoping that the lessons drawn from the Twickenham defeat will guide his team’s approach in the upcoming World Cup matches in France, which commence in September.

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