It will be a 9pm (8pm BST) start for Warren Gatland’s men in Bordeaux on Sunday when they kick-off their Pool C campaign against Fiji, with co-captain Dewi Lake admitting it will be a new experience for many of the payers.
“Bridgend Sports never played at 9pm when I was starting out. It’s just part and parcel of being on this great stage.
“There are going to be 2.00pm and 9.00pm kicks offs (local time), but it will be the same for both teams,” said Lake.
That goes for the scorching weather conditions, too. All the squads found themselves training in 30+ degree heat during the day and the temperature in Bordeaux at 9pm on Sunday night is predicted to have fallen only to 28 degrees from a daily high of 35.
“Nine o’clock kick-offs should make it a bit easier, but it will be the same for the opposition. We did our hard work in these conditions in Turkey,” added Lake.
“That has set us up nicely for these conditions. It’s something we’ve prepared for – it was hot in Switzerland and Turkey and we know it’s going to be hot in France. It’s all about cracking on and doing the job.”
Lake is fit and ready for selection for Sunday, with head coach Gatland having to choose between him and fellow co-captain Jac Morgan who will lead the Welsh side into their vital opening fixture.
The honour of leading Wales in the opening matches at previous World Cups previously fell to Richard Moriarty (v Ireland, 1987), Ieuan Evans (v Western Samoa, 1991), Mike Hall (v Japan, 1995), Rob Howley (v Argentina, 1999), Colin Charvis (v Italy, 2003), Sam Warburton (v South Africa, 2011 and Uruguay, 2015) and Alun Wyn Jones (v Georgia, 2019).
Given he was injured when leading his country for the first time at Twickenham a few weeks ago, the Ospreys hooker is simply delighted to be fully fit and ready to take his place in the side at his first World Cup.
“I’m very grateful to be here and to the medical staff who got me through the two weeks I had to spend at home and then back in camp. Things obviously run through your mind when you have to come off only 20 minutes into a game,” said Lake.
“But a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get me ready for this weekend. Hopefully that will lead me into the tournament.”