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Woodman: Wales U20s ready for acid test

08/07/2024

Dragons RFC back row Ryan Woodman insists Wales Under-20s are ready for a shot at glory in Cape Town when they attempt to end France’s domination of the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Woodman’s men know that a win over the French will take them into the top-tier semi-finals after picking up two points in a narrow defeat to New Zealand and the full five in the 31-10 victory over Spain.

France won 45-12 in Cardiff when the two teams met in the Six Nations and you have to go back to February 2020 for the last Welsh win at this age against the French. But Woodman believes his team can go into the clash in confidence mood.

“We’re really excited about our chances against them this week and this is the best feeling I’ve had with a Welsh team going into a game against France,” he said.

“We’re playing the three-time on the bounce champions in France, and we’ve already faced New Zealand, who beat them in the last-minute last week. They are probably on similar levels of ability.

“There is a real buzz around this game and some confidence. It’s not cockiness, we are just excited to get a second shot at this good team after what happened in the Six Nations.

“The boys weren’t happy with their performance against them in the Six Nations and they are just excited to try to get one back on them. We’re all very excited and we’re getting revved up for the challenge.”

The win over Spain came against a back-drop of illness in the camp and was a job well done in the end. But now comes the acid test for Woodman’s warriors against a team picked by many to again go all the way.

“We went into the game against Spain with a plan of getting a bonus point and now we can get into the top four if we can beat France,” said Woodman.

“I was happy with that, we got the job done, although we could have scored more points.

“Spain are the same type of team as the Georgians, Italians and Japanese. They are very passionate and love playing for their country – they flew at us and hit us hard, but we knew where we could exploit them.

“We know how big, physical, and good France are. Once they make a line break it’s very hard to stop them.

“I believe we have a chance – just like I believed we had a chance against New Zealand. We just must stick to our game plan and execute.

 “Looking at the weather that’s going to restrict them a little bit in how they play, which is in the typical French way. There are 50+mph winds predicted to come with the rain on the day,” added Woodman.

“I’m not sure whether that is going to suit us on the day, but we feel fresh and are ready to go after a tough week.”

I believe we have a chance – just like I believed we had a chance against New Zealand. We just must stick to our game plan and execute...
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