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Rugby World Cup: Wales Advances to the Semifinals

Posted on October 08, 2011 by Thomas Rooney

Jonathan Davies scores for Wales during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.

Wales coach Warren Gatland believes he is able to field a more rounded side than he has ever been able to put out before.

With all his star players returning from injury, the New Zealander has a full squad to choose from, and that was evident during their 22-10 victory over Ireland on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 24 years.

He also believes that the blend of youth and experience in his side can only have a positive effect on results.

Gatland said: “The nice thing is I feel we have a balance we haven’t had before.

“We’ve got players who can get us across the gain line, we’ve got pace out wide, we’ve got a pretty special youngster (in wing George North), we’ve got loose forwards that can carry, loose forwards that can compete on the ball, a couple of big second rows and a more experienced front row, as well.”

And that is not where the excitement ends for Gatland. He believes his side’s new found attacking mentality is beginning to pay off.

He added: “What’s been great about this World Cup is we’ve got a lot of youngsters with no fear factor.

“They’ve got no history, as well. We’ve just encouraged them to make the right decisions.

“We’ve talked about times we want to be smart, we’ve got to play territory, we’ve got to play weather conditions, but if you feel there’s an opportunity to move and play we want to encourage that.”

Without doubt one of Wales’ most exciting options is in 19-year-old George North who has been attracting big headlines after his performances in one of the famous Welsh Rugby Shirts.

The youngster is tipped to be one of the biggest stars of future rugby, and having the opportunity to play at the World Cup while still so young will be so beneficial to him.

Rhys Priestland, 23, at fly half and captain Sam Warburton, who turned 23 last Wednesday, only add to the plethora of young talent available.

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