Rugby World Cup 2011
Wales reserves ready to step up
September 22, 2011
Craig Mitchell is ready to step into the Welsh scrum against Namibia © Getty Images
Craig Mitchell insists that motivation is not a problem for those Wales players yet to feature in the World Cup.
The Exeter prop is likely to be among several call-ups when quarter-final hopefuls Wales continue their Pool D programme against Namibia in New Plymouth next Monday.
"At the end of the day, you are playing for your country and you are playing for places," he said. "Nothing comes easy. You don't just slot into the Wales side - you have to work hard to get there.
"The boys who are ahead of me now probably had to do the same as me when they were my age. The biggest thing for me was getting out here and being part of the 30-man squad. Adam (Jones) has been around for a while, and with his experience I knew I wasn't going to get much game-time. But I will keep training hard and hopefully my chance will come.
"Gats (Wales coach Warren Gatland) has always said he will pick on form, and the competition is huge. You could slot anyone into the side and I am sure he would do a good job. We are highly competitive in training, and that is reflected when we are playing."
Mitchell, 25, looks set to pack down alongside Gethin Jenkins and Lloyd Burns in the front-row at Stadium Taranaki, with the aim of emulating strong scrummaging displays produced by Wales against South Africa and Samoa. A bonus point victory for Wales would keep them firmly in the mix as potential last-eight material, which would be confirmed if they then defeat Fiji on Sunday week and Samoa do not upset world champions South Africa.
"It (scrum) has been going well for us. We have had two good performances, and hopefully there will be a third against Namibia," Mitchell added. "We've looked at the footage of the Namibia game against Samoa, and we will be going in with the same sort of mindset. We will take them on up front and see where it gets us.
"Namibia have shown in the games they've played that they are competitive. They have a never-say-die attitude, so we are going to have to be ruthless going into the game. We don't go into any game thinking we are going to take it lightly. Coming into the tournament one of the big things was to be ruthless.
"In these kind of games it can go two ways - it can either be a dog-fight or a 50-pointer. We go into any game trying to get maximum points, and nothing will change for this one."
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