Wales will be offered “no second chances” when they kick off their World Cup against defending champions South Africa on Sunday, according to Welsh assistant coach Robin McBryde.
The former Wales international hooker also played down concerns of the squally weather conditions forecast and referee Wayne Barnes’ ability to handle the breakdown.
“We’ve got to make sure we start well,” McBryde said. “It’ll be very hard if we fall behind early on.
“The type of game they play is to keep you deep in your own half and exert pressure on you, making it hard to get any territory.
“We know we’re fit enough and we have to make sure we start the game at the best of our abilities.
“There’s no second chances. We’re playing against the reigning world champions. We’ve got to go out there and give it our best shot.”
‘Itching’ to begin
McBryde said forecasts of rain and strong winds come Sunday night were out of the control of both teams.
“Without a doubt the weather will be a factor but we can’t be overly concerned with it,” he said, predicting that the kicking game would be key to the match.
“It could be about which team adapts better to the wind conditions.”
He added that the Sam Warburton-led Wales team were “itching” to kick off their World Cup campaign after the disappointment of 2007 when the Welsh lost to Fiji and failed to make it into the quarterfinals.
“We’re excited. We’ve seen the opening ceremony, seen a couple of games so we’re itching to get on the field and have a first crack at the World Cup.”
McBryde also had high praise for English referee Barnes, dubbing him a good communicator and very vigilant, allaying fears that he might struggle to cope with the Springboks’ outstanding foraging openside flanker Heinrich Brussouw.
“It’ll be a tough encounter and the breakdown will be key to that,” McBryde said. “We’ve got to be good enough to deal with that.
“We’ve also got an intelligent backrow. The best players adapt to the way referee interprets the law on the day.
“Wayne Barnes is quite consistent, communicates during the game, is very vigilant and we’ve been comfortable with the way he’s refereed games in the past.”
Wales coach Warren Gatland named Rhys Priestland as flyhalf, with Stephen Jones injured and James Hook falling to fullback, but McBryde said the former was taking his promotion in his stride.
“He’s relatively new to the international stage but he’s quite a confident young man.
“He’s had a good season for Scarlets, he’s matured a lot, he’s learnt a lot, and having such experienced guys around him and the parts he played in the three warm-up games against tough opposition have given him confidence.
“The message to Rhys is just to go out there and play your game and enjoy yourself as much as you can.” — AFP
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