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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Evans: '91 was 'miserable'

Steffan Garrero of BBC Radio Wales' Back Page programme has spoken to the captains of Wales' last five World Cup squads.

We are featuring one a day all this week and the second is with Ieuan Evans.

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans in action at the 1991 Rugby World Cup

Following their third-place finish in 1987, Wales' hopes of a repeat or going one better was all but over even before the 1991 World Cup started.

Coach Ron Waldron resigned before the tournament and captain Ieuan Evans has less than fond memories of the 1991 campaign, which saw Wales fall at the first hurdle.

"When Alan Davies and Bob Norster came in as the management team, they picked me as captain," said Evans.

"That was a great feeling and I still have fond memories of that aspect, but generally the performances were pretty miserable. We expected far better than we actually got."

The World Cup was jointly hosted by England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France, and Wales found themselves in Pool C with Argentina, Australia and Western Samoa.

First up was Western Samoa, a match Evans admits Wales should have won. They lost 16-13.

"Generally we weren't at our best in that game and we probably deserved to lose," he said. "They had some terrific players back then.

I suppose I could understand the ferocity of the criticism as well
Ieuan Evans

"We had enough possession and territory. We paid the consequences.

"I still remember the boos ringing around the ground and there was total despair in our squad.

"The media was not good and quite rightly so. Up to that point it was probably the biggest shock in any World Cup and it was on our own doorstep.

"I suppose I could understand the ferocity of the criticism as well.

"The loss was unexpected and I think that fuelled the dismay and disappointment. It was the lowest point of my career."

Wales gave themselves a glimmer of hope by beating Argentina 16-7, but they still had to beat Australia in the final group match. They were trounced 38-3.

"David Campese practically single-handedly brought that World Cup to Australia," said Evans.

"Wales teams winning possession has always been our issue. If you get the ball, you can get on the platform.

"But we couldn't get the ball and we did struggle and we got roundly booed off. I still remember it.

"I think that feeling was there [going out of the World Cup] as much as you keep fighting away for your own pride as much as anything else."


Evans described Arthur Emyr's infamous attempted drop goal at 30 points down as "not his greatest moment".

But he added: "That's not the reason we lost. It was a disappointing World Cup generally. We should at least qualify for the quarter-finals."

Australia went on to win the World Cup, beating England 12-6 in the final at Twickenham after seeing off Ireland and New Zealand on the way.

For Wales, it was back to the drawing board and reflecting what should have been as opposed to what happened.

Wednesday: Mike Hall on the 1995 World Cup

*The Back Page has a regular slot on Saturdays, 0830-0900 BST

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