Rugby World Cup: Wales in confident mood for France quarter-final, says Warren Gatland
Wales will contest a third successive World Cup last-eight clash of Gatland's reign when they tackle France in Oita on Sunday
Last Updated: 18/10/19 10:32am
Warren Gatland says Wales are in "confident" mood ahead of their quarter-final test with France, having beaten Les Blues in seven out of their last eight meetings.
The last time the two nations met at a World Cup in 2011, Wales suffered a narrow 9-8 defeat against France at the semi-final stage in New Zealand.
Gatland, who will leave his role after this year's tournament in Japan, believes his squad are in a good place going into Sunday's clash at the Showa Denko Dome, following four wins from four games which saw them finish top of Pool D.
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"We have trained well and prepared extremely well and go into this game with a lot of confidence," Gatland said.
"As coaches and players this is what you do all the hard work and training for. It's all for big moments and to try and get to finals.
"As a coaching group we've had a lot of success in big matches when it has really counted and mattered, whether that has been in Grand Slam games, European finals or Premiership finals with Wasps, or even on Lions tours as well.
"I think we've got a pretty good formula as a group about getting things right. It's not just about the physical preparation, it's about being mentally right and those top two inches everyone talks about.
"If you get that right in big games it can often make a big difference. I keep saying we are in a good place, we've prepared well and the preparation is done.
"In the next 24 hours, we will start building nicely, but we can't play the game before we are ready, and that's important.
"It's all done from the coaching perspective now. It's down to the players in the next 24 to 48 hours to really take ownership and control, and they've been doing that brilliantly already this week."
Wales have won 19 out of their last 22 Tests, which included a record 14-game unbeaten run, and their 100 per cent Pool D record was their best group stage performance at a World Cup since 1987.
Gatland also thinks his side can use their recent victories against Jacques Brunel's team, including a 19-24 win away at the Stade de France during the 2019 Six Nations, as motivation going into their clash in Oita.
"We keep working hard, and about four of the last seven tries (Wales scored) against France have been situations where we kept working hard to chase, and one of their players has made an error and we have capitalised," he added.
"Defensively, (Wales defence coach) Shaun (Edwards) has been a little bit more on edge this week. He is pretty pumped up from a defensive point of view.
"We have been working hard defensively. He was not too happy with conceding a try against Uruguay, and he let the players know clearly in the changing room afterwards."