Wales insist Georgia rematch is all about respect not revenge after shock defeat last November as Warren Gatland’s men seek to clinch top spot
- Welsh rugby hit an all-time low with the 13-12 defeat by Georgia in Cardiff
- Wayne Pivac was sacked a month later and replaced by Warren Gatland
- Gatland has guided Wales into the last eight of the World Cup in France
Wales have insisted they won’t be out for revenge when they take on Georgia in their final World Cup Pool C clash having already become the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Last November, Welsh rugby hit an all-time low when the national side – then coached by Wayne Pivac – was beaten 13-12 by the Lelos in Cardiff. Pivac was sacked the following month.
His replacement Warren Gatland promptly returned to the country’s top job and, after a tough start, has guided Wales into the last eight of the World Cup in France.
It means the team is in a very different place to the last time they faced Levan Maisashvili’s men.
‘It’s about winning. We want to finish top of our group. It was only a few short months ago Georgia beat us. We’ll be treating them with massive respect,’ said Wales assistant Jonathan Humphreys.
Welsh rugby hit an all-time low with the 13-12 defeat by Georgia in Cardiff last November
Forwards guru Humphreys was part of Pivac’s coaching team when Wales were beaten by Georgia and stayed on in his role when Gatland came in.
The former hooker added: ‘There are no wrongs to right. They (Georgia) deserved it and were excellent on the day. It was difficult to watch at the end. This is a totally different thing.
‘It’s not about revenge or anything like that. It’s about making sure we’re at our best to win the game and top our group.’
After bonus-point wins over Fiji and Portugal, Wales sealed their quarter-final spot with a 40-6 hammering of Eddie Jones’ Australia. Gatland gave his players three days off after the Wallaby win.
They don’t play Georgia until October 7, but know a fourth straight success will see them finish top of Pool C and set-up a more-than-winnable knock-out clash, most likely with Argentina.
Wales sealed their quarter-final spot at the World Cup with a 40-6 hammering of Australia
‘We need to fully concentrate on Georgia,’ said Humphreys, refuting any suggestion Wales have already turned their attentions to knock-out rugby.
‘We know we’re in the quarter-finals but Georgia is a massive game for us. We want to keep momentum going and we don’t want to fall off the standards we’re setting.
‘Our focus after a couple of days off will turn directly to Georgia.’
An ambitious rugby nation with hopes of competing in the Six Nations, Georgia have been disappointed by their World Cup so far. They have lost to Australia and drew with Portugal to date.
Before facing Wales, they face Fiji in Bordeaux on Saturday.
A Pacific Island win would knock Jones’ Australia out of the World Cup, making his team the first Wallaby outfit never to make the quarter-finals.
For Wales, there is no such misery. Their turnaround from the Six Nations has been remarkable. Humphreys and his players were especially pleased with their forward display against Australia.
‘It was probably up there with the most satisfying games I’ve had,’ said Wales lock Will Rowlands.
Warren Gatland has guided Wales into the last eight of the World Cup in France
‘It was so satisfying. We put pressure on them through a good scrum, good maul, and we got the points and went again. We’re really pleased with how the three games have gone.
‘Now everyone is switched on and focused on doing a job on Georgia so we can top the pool and get into the quarter-finals.’
Humphreys added: ‘We’d spent four-and-a-half months trying to improve and set standards. We talked afterwards about that’s the standard we have to set.
‘When you get to the quarter-finals, everything is going to be tough.’
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