Wales face a crunch Women’s World Cup clash against Canada in Dublin on Sunday. After opening their Pool A campaign with a 44-12 loss to New Zealand earlier this week, Wales’ hopes of featuring at the tournament’s business end receded considerably.
And they now face a Canadian side fresh from destroying Hong Kong 98-0, with the 2014 World Cup runners-up running in 16 tries, including five for wing Magali Harvey.
“There has been a bit of frustration,” Wales assistant coach Nick Wakley said. “We feel we could have been a bit more clinical against New Zealand, and we gifted them a couple of tries.
“All our focus is now on Canada. They have got fantastic athletes all over the field — they attack from depth and run hard.
“I would probably say they have got more natural athletes than New Zealand, but it is the same story — we have to match their physicality.”
Wales scored two tries against the Black Ferns, and skipper Carys Phillips believes the final scoreline did them a harsh service.
“The score was definitely no reflection on the match,” Phillips told World Rugby. “I think we need to be more accurate with our play. I am proud of every single one of the girls for how they played, and there was a lot we could take away from the New Zealand game and be really proud of.
“We definitely need to improve our accuracy and be more clinical when we have got the ball, but our set-piece is phenomenal and I think we can score against any team with that.”
Canada, though, will start as favourites, with current form suggesting their appointment with New Zealand next week is likely to be a group decider.
“Keeping the continuity is something we’ve really been focusing on, and it was a great job by the girls to keep that going [against Hong Kong],” said Canada captain Kelly Russell. Sunday’s other Pool A game sees New Zealand facing Hong Kong.