Wales inspired by Calzaghe for Fiji showdown

Ross McLean
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Wales can move closer to sealing a World Cup quarter-final place with victory today
WALES will take inspiration from boxing great Joe Calzaghe as they bid to land the knockout blow to Fiji’s World Cup hopes when the two sides meet at the Millennium Stadium today, according to forwards coach Robin McBryde.

Warren Gatland’s side will qualify for the tournament’s last eight if they dispatch the South Sea Islanders, who need a win to maintain their own last eight hopes, and then host nation England lose against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Undefeated super middleweight champion Calzaghe was the guest of honour in the Welsh camp on Tuesday where the players were given a private screening of the documentary film Mr Calzaghe, which focuses on the fighter’s life and career.

With Wales looking to hit the summit of Pool A, the so-called Group of Death, with victory against Fiji, McBryde insists exuding similar credentials as their compatriot showcased during his boxing career would do their own cause no harm at all.

“The film came across strongly that he has been true to his roots. He was never-say-die, always saw himself as the underdog and trained as such. He thrived on that,” said McBryde.

“We’ve still got a bit of work to do after putting ourselves in a great situation in the group, and we know that we have sterner and stiffer challengers that we need to meet head-on.”

Wales reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2011 before losing 9-8 to France in Auckland, having suffered a narrow 17-16 loss to South Africa in their opening pool match.

McBryde admits there are parallels between the two tournaments in so far as Wales recovered from that setback against the Springboks with victory over Samoa, while the principality injected energy into this World Cup campaign with victory over England.

“It is very similar to four years ago where we built up a head of steam,” added McBryde. “It was a huge win last week. If we get another win, that momentum will grow.”

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