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Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019

Paul 'Bobby' Stridgeon calls the shots during training in Turkey.

Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019

Paul ‘Bobby’ Stridgeon is part of the beating heart of the Wales side and never short of enthusiasm around Warren Gatland’s camp at the Rugby World Cup – or indeed any other time.

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And the head of physical performance says the team are in prime shape in Japan, an assertion backed up by sports scientist Ryan Chambers.

Wales prepared for the tournament with gruelling training camps in Switzerland and Turkey and it has paid off with Gatland’s players adapting seamlessly to the heat of the Far East.

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“The boys are in a good place. We are happy with how we performed in the first two games,” Stridgeon said. “We worked really hard at the World Cup camps, but we also train very intensively when we are together in a Test week. If you taper off and back off the boys too early then we will detrain and towards the end of the tournament we will be struggling.

“The coaching group allows us to get the strength and conditioning work in we need. We don’t train for long periods, but we train intensively and because the coaches allow the boys some decent recovery time and some time off, we can make some good gains even in tournaments.

“All our coaches know that being strong and fit benefits the team massively in our games and they back us up on that. They are always banging that fitness drum with us. We saw that in the Australia game. It was evident in the second half when we defended for long periods.”

On the 29-25 win over Australia, Stridgeon added: “It’s been brilliant. The boys were elated after the game. This is the best prepared squad I’ve worked with by far.”

After victories over Georgia and Australia, Wales relaxed with four days off in Otsu on the banks of Lake Biwa. The squad are now in Beppu ahead of facing Fiji in nearby Oita on Wednesday.

“I’d agree with Bobby this is the best group I’ve worked with,” Chambers, who has been part of Wales’ senior set-up since 2009, said.

“They’re hungry and want to get better. They’re competitive with each other, but also know what’s best for the team. Last week we had optional training days, but nigh on everybody did something if they could. Warren said it wasn’t a test as it could easily be interpreted as that.

“He made that quite explicit. The fact everybody who could do some training did sums it up.”

Chambers echoes Stridgeon by saying Wales’ players are in a good place physically and mentally.

“A couple of the lads said after the Australia match they felt if the game had been an extra half hour longer they could have kept going. From that perspective it’s clear they feel fit,” he added.

“When I go into the changing room at half time now we have to tell the lads to calm down. In the past we haven’t really. They’re ready to go and on the edge of their seats.

“They don’t look too stressed physically and that’s down to how we train. We make sure training is harder than games. The players haven’t said that to us, but you can tell.

“That’s what we aim to do and they know that.”

Chambers continued: “The morale is great. There is no reason for us to fear anybody. The next two games are hugely important to make sure we finish top of the pool.

“It’s exciting and you don’t want it to end.”

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Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
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Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
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Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
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Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
Performance department hails Wales’ class of 2019
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