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Wales 'will be feared'

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

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CENTRE Jonathan Davies believes Wales will be the side other nations will want to avoid when the 2015 World Cup draw takes place in London this afternoon.

Saturday's agonising 14-12 defeat to the Wallabies in Cardiff saw last year's semi-finalists drop down into the third tier of nations in the IRB rankings — below the likes of Samoa and Argentina.

Wales have now gone seven matches without a win since the heady days of their Grand Slam triumph.

And it means they could be handed a nightmarish pool alongside the All Blacks and 2015 hosts England when the draw is made by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has played down the significance of his side's slide down the rankings and Davies insists the players will not be overly concerned, whoever their opponents turn out to be.

"We have just got to deal with it," said the Scarlet. "We can't dwell on it and I think people will be fearing us, not the other way around.

"We won't be too concerned — we had a tough group last year and look what happened."

Reflecting on Saturday's last-gasp defeat, their sixth to Australia in the space of 13 months, Davies said: "It is a bitter pill to swallow.

"I spoke to some of their players after the game and said "you boys are killing us, this is getting beyond a joke".

"We just lost concentration at the end and were punished for it. But we also showed we are a quality side and showed how dangerous we can be with ball in hand."

There was at least some heartening news for Welsh fans yesterday with full-back Leigh Halfpenny released from the University Hospital Wales, Cardiff with no serious neck injury.

The Gorseinon product was stretchered off after making a tackle on flanker Dave Dennis in the build-up to the last-minute try that saw Kurtley Beale snatch the win for Australia.

Moments earlier he had been announced as the official man of the match.

"Leigh was heroic out there and put his body on the line time after time," added Davies. "He got the man of the match and thoroughly deserved it. Hopefully he makes a quick recovery."

Halfpenny underwent scans on Saturday, but a Welsh Rugby Union spokesman said that those scans had showed up no serious damage.

Halfpenny said: "I want to say thank you to all of the medical teams who have looked after me following my injury. Everyone has been so supportive and the care I have had has been incredibly professional and second to none.

"I'd also like to thank all of those who have been sending me messages of support following the injury."

The spokesman added Halfpenny will "undertake a period of treatment and rehabilitation to ensure that a swift return to play is undertaken".

World Cup draw: Band 1: New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, France.

Band 2: England, Ireland, Samoa, Argentina.

Band 3: Wales, Italy, Tonga, Scotland.

Band 4: Oceania 1, Europe 1, Asia 1, Americas 1.

Band 5: Africa 1, Europe 2, Americas 2, Repechage winner.

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