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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
RWC draw thrills Ruddock
Wales face Australia in the group stages of the 2007 World Cup
Wales coach Mike Ruddock was a happy man after seeing the schedule for the 2007 World Cup in France.

"I think it is very exciting," he said, after his team drew Australia and three qualifiers, likely to be Fiji, Canada and Japan.

The tournament structure means two of Wales' pool games and their quarter-final - if they make it that far - will probably be played in Cardiff.

"It looks as though there will be some games in Wales," said Ruddock.

"That could be quite critical in terms of our ambition of progressing to the quarter-finals."

We need to tighten up a bit more up front and have more of an aggressive defence
Wales coach Mike Ruddock
Should they reach that stage, Wales face a likely knock-out match with old rivals England.

That would be a repeat of last autumn's quarter-final in Brisbane, where Wales scared the eventual champions with a thrilling brand of attacking, running rugby.

"It is a style of rugby I would like to see us continue playing, and that will be my message to the players," said Ruddock.

"We need to tighten up a little bit more up front, and perhaps have a bit more of an aggressive defence, then hopefully we can become a very good team."

Injury woes

Ruddock is set to announce his squad for the summer tour of Argentina and South Africa on Monday, but his plans have been hit by widespread injury withdrawals.

Iestyn Harris, Gareth Williams, Mark Jones, Stephen Jones, Mark Taylor, Robin McBryde, Kevin Morgan, Dafydd Jones, Robert Sidoli, Gareth Cooper and Martyn Williams will all miss out.

Back-up players Jamie Robinson, Matthew Watkins and Ryan Powell will also not be considered.

A decision is pending on Blues three-quarter Tom Shanklin who has a knee injury.

"While it is never good to have players out of contention through injury, this will give us an opportunity to look at different individuals and different combinations," said Ruddock.

"We need strength in depth in the squad, and we have an opportunity to build on that this summer.

"This should make us stronger for next year's RBS Six Nations Championship, and it will be invaluable to our preparations for the World Cup."


RWC 2007 Draw

Pool A
England
South Africa
Oceania 1
Americas 3
Repechage 2

Pool B
Australia
Wales
Oceania 2
Americas 2
Asia 1

Pool C
New Zealand
Scotland
Europe 1
Europe 2
Repechage 1

Pool D
France
Ireland
Americas 1
Europe 3
Africa 1




SEE ALSO
England 'excited' by draw
12 May 04  |  Internationals
Ireland face 'massive task'
12 May 04  |  Internationals


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