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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Hall: '95 rivalries affected team

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 third is with Mike Hall.

Mike Hall
Mike Hall captained Wales at the 1995 World Cup

In the years between the disastrous 1991 World Cup campaign and 1995, the Wales team was breathing new life.

Alan Davies and Bob Norster had brought stability to the side and the build-up to the tournament in South Africa saw Wales win the Five Nations, along with enjoying successful tours of Canada and Fiji.

But captain Mike Hall recalls stand-offs over the game turning professional led to Davies' departure and the appointment of Wales' first non-Welsh coach in Australian Alex Evans, who was in charge of Cardiff at the time.

"In hindsight, was it the right thing to do picking a club coach who was probably hated by the rest of Wales?" asked Hall.

"Was it the right thing to pick the Cardiff captain [himself] as the Welsh captain, who was probably hated by the rest of Wales because we were successful?

"I think with Cardiff, one of the things we did on purpose was to thrive on this hatred.

"That was our attitude and obviously that upset a lot of people. Swansea players hated Alex Evans, Llanelli players hated him.

I think that's where we came up a cropper and I also think Alex compromised a little bit on selection
Mike Hall

"If the players had bought into what Alex was trying to do we would have been successful in 1995 because we had a very short space of time to train, to take on board his ideas for us to get the message across.

"The squad was probably Cardiff biased with the number of players that went and I think there was a lot of resentment with the other players and they didn't respond very well to it."

Wales arrived in South Africa facing Ireland, Japan and New Zealand in Pool C.

Japan were swept aside 57-10, but Hall says divisions in the camp hampered their progress

"When we got to South Africa there were a lot of factions in the squad which was very difficult for me to do anything about," he said.

"I think it would have been impossible for Ieuan Evans to do anything about as well because of the dislike of some of the Swansea players in particular.

"To the detriment of the side, they let themselves down and quite a few of them went out boozing. That upset the apple cart a bit.

"We had to play the All Blacks on the Wednesday night and then we had to front up against Ireland on the weekend.


"In normal circumstances if you had a true squad, you would have been able to use your squad in that situation. We couldn't.

"I think that's where we came up a cropper and I also think Alex compromised a little bit on selection.

"When it came to the crunch I don't think he was strong enough to pick the side he wanted, particularly against Ireland in the last game and I think he got the tactics wrong."

Wales lost to 34-9 to New Zealand and 24-23 to Ireland ending their hopes of winning the World Cup, which South Africa went on to lift by beating New Zealand 15-12 in the final.

Thursday: Rob Howley on the 1999 World Cup

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

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