Charteris to fight for place
Luke Charteris says the completion for a starting place in Wales' second row means there will be no complacency among the squad.
Last Updated: 05/09/11 4:14pm
Luke Charteris says the competition for a starting place in Wales' second row means there will be no room for complacency among the locks in the squad.
The established pairing of Bradley Davies and Alun-Wyn Jones look likely to be named in the starting XV for the Pool D opener against reigning world champions South Africa on Sunday.
Charteris will therefore be on the bench, a familiar role for the 28-year-old as 10 of his 25 caps have been won as a replacement
But some have tipped him to take over the four or five shirt during the tournament in New Zealand and Charteris says he will be keeping up the pressure on those above him in the pecking order.
"The good thing about playing in a position where there is a lot of competition is that the boys push you to play better," the towering lock said.
"And when you get a chance you have to do everything you can to impress.
"Everyone in the squad knows they cannot rest on their laurels. They have to give everything they can on the field, which is good for the coaches and good for us as players.
"There are 30 boys here all aiming for a starting shirt. You have to keep trying to impress as best you can."
The Newport Gwent Dragons player believes the whole of the squad have arrived in the best possible shape and are ready to reap the rewards of their high levels of fitness.
"I think we are a lot fitter than we have ever been. Our fitness levels are really high. We know we can continue to perform for 80 minutes at real high levels, and that gives us confidence," he added.
"The style we like to play is all-action, and there is a lot of work you have to do fitness-wise to play it.
"If boys are dropping off, that could cost you pretty badly, whether it's a lapse in defence or giving away a penalty through a stupid mistake.
"Physically, I think we are there, it is just finishing it off mentally and making sure we are primed for Sunday."
The Springboks second-row pair of Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield will be a stern test for their Welsh counterparts but Charteris thinks his side will be able to can cause them some problems.
"Individually, they are very good players and they complement each other well," he said.
He added: "If we are on top of our game, then hopefully it will give them a few headaches thinking about us - that is where you want to be."