Wales U20 skipper, Dewi Lake, has challenged his team to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat to reigning world champions France when they return to action against Fiji on Wednesday.
After an impressive win over hosts Argentina in Round 1 of the World Rugby U20 World Championship, the young Welsh team came crashing back to earth in the second round, suffering a 32-13 loss on Saturday evening.
Lake, who has just signed his first senior deal with the Ospreys, admitted it had been a frustrating 80 minutes but insisted his team won’t dwell on the setback.
“It’s disappointing to lose in the fashion we did but, whenever you lose, there’s always something you can take away from it” he said.
“I think it’s important we see it as a lesson. I know the boys are disappointed but we go again against Fiji on Wednesday and for us to have any hope of getting to where we want to be in this competition it’s important we bounce back and go again.
“Once a game is done, it’s done, and for us that’s going to be the key element, how we bounce back from a defeat like that. They are reigning champions but that’s no excuse. A couple of times we were in good positions and the set piece maybe let us down. That’s stuff we’ve got to take on the chin, go back and look at, and get better at.”
It had been a dream start for the Welsh team who took the lead after just five minutes, a midfield break from Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler the catalyst for a try from Tomi Lewis but they spent the rest of the game on the backfoot as France dominated throughout.
Lake said that the team will be judged on how they respond:
“I think at half-time we were quite comfortable, quite happy where we were, two points behind, but we felt like we didn’t see much of the ball. We were defending for 30 minutes maybe, after that first try. Credit to France, they kept the ball in hand well, they made us defend, and it’s inevitable then when you are defending for 80 minutes that eventually cracks are going to start to show.
“From any game there are always things you can take away, positive and negative. Positives are that great try Tomi Lewis scored and we did defend well for 70/80 minutes, with little to show for it for ourselves. There’s definitely positives we can take out of it as well as things that need changing for Fiji.
“It’s important we understand that now as players, this is a key part of our development. How we show ourselves through the next three games, is how we bounce back from this loss.”
Lake’s comments were echoed by his Ospreys and Wales colleague, outside half Cai Evans:
“There is plenty for us to take into the next game against Fiji. We have plenty to offer out wide and there are more opportunities for us to showcase that.
“We have got to look forward to each game. The French game got away from us, but they took advantage of their purple patches – any sniff they got they took advantage of.”