Rugby World Cup 2011
Howley: We've reached a new level
ESPNscrum Staff
October 10, 2011
Wales celebrate Jonathan Davies' try, Ireland v Wales, Rugby World Cup quarter-final, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, October 8, 2011
Wales celebrate Jonathan Davies' try against Ireland © Getty Images

Assistant coach Rob Howley believes Wales have reached another level and are ready to seize a place in the Rugby World Cup for the first time in their history.

Wales displayed a huge defensive effort as well as a ruthless instinct in attack as they defeated Ireland in the quarter-final on Saturday. And Howley believes mixture of youth and experience has enabled the side to hit new heights ahead of their showdown with France.

"We have experienced heads like Shane Williams, Mike Phillips and Gethin Jenkins, who have played a lot of places in world rugby, and even those players are taking their game to another level alongside the youngsters,"said Howley. "Warren Gatland and the players have set the standards and we now have an opportunity and a dream which we want to continue.

"But we realise it is all based on hard work and the players are very much looking forward to seizing upon the opportunity that is in front of them. We are in the semi final of the Rugby World Cup, the players have achieved that much, but we don't think we have finished yet. We haven't won anything, so our feet are firmly on the ground.

"Our players and our captain in particular are well rounded people, we felt before the game yesterday it wasn't time to come home and we are still hungry for more today."

Wales picked up a couple of minor knocks during the game against Ireland, but Howley reported that they should have a full squad to select their semi-final line-up from.

"The players are in good shape, we picked up a couple of knocks with Rhys Priestland and Luke Charteris both taking bumps on the shoulder but they are both expected to be fine," continued Howley.

"We played particularly well last night, we took our chances and the challenge now is for us to replicate that on Saturday night if we are to come anywhere near France at the weekend.

"We are under no illusion as to how good this French side are, they have world class players throughout the team. But, what we have tended to do over the last four or five weeks, is concentrate on ourselves and put our own game right in attack and defence and that will continue this week.

"We are just concentrating on ourselves. The confidence and momentum we achieved over that last few weeks is there for us to build on."

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