Charteris out to bury ghosts of RWC
November 17, 2011
Charteris shone for Wales during their RWC campaign © Getty Images
Giant lock Luke Charteris has eyed next month's clash with Australia as the perfect opportunity to bury the ghosts of their 2011 World Cup campaign.
Wales were the surprise package of the tournament in New Zealand, as a side brilliantly led by Sam Warburton marched to the semi-final stage. But an early red card for Warburton and some wayward goal kicking saw them suffer an agonising 9-8 defeat to France in the last four.
The physical and mental toll of that defeat was clear to see in the 21-18 third place play-off reverse to Australia, and Charteris revealed the anguish felt in the Wales' changing room that day, but hopes for a very different post-match experience on December 3.
"It was not a good place to be," said the 6ft 9in second row. "There were a lot of depressed people in there. "The way the last two weeks at the World Cup went against France and Australia meant there were a lot of sad boys.
"We had worked so hard and to finish like that was hard to take, but that's what is so good about this game, it means we can't dwell on it. We have a good opportunity to start again and build towards the Six Nations.
"We finished the World Cup on a bit of a down and that's not how wanted to finish and we want to turn that around against Australia. The performance against them was probably the worst we put in all campaign but hopefully this time we can put that right and get a good win."
Charteris, 28, came of age as a Test forward in New Zealand, turning in a string of tireless performances which were capped by the remarkable tally of 16 tackles he made in the first half of the quarter-final win over Ireland. But the Newport Gwent Dragons' forward, who is confident of overcoming a wrist injury in time to face the Wallabies, is not resting on his laurels.
He said: "I'm not going to complain (about the plaudits) it's always nice, and it gives you confidence going forward, but have to keep going forward and putting in the performances.
"I missed out on the last World Cup and it was an ambition of mine to play in one, and I wanted to make sure I enjoyed the experience and tried to get the most out of it and I think that attitude came across in how we played as a team."
The December 3 appointment in Cardiff, which will mark record try scorer Shane Williams' 87th and final Test, will also be the first time Wales have played in front of their own fans since returning from New Zealand.
The semi-final appearance against France brought a crowd of 61,000 to the Millennium Stadium to watch the game on the big screens, a gathering greater than the attendance at Auckland's Eden Park for the game itself.
And Charteris admits it gives the home side another added incentive to claim the scalp of Robbie Deans' men. He said: "The support we had was massive, we probably weren't aware of how much support we had back at home.
"To have more people sat in the stadium watching the semi-final on a screen than in Eden Park watching the game, that's pretty amazing considering the time of day it was. The boys are determined to put in a good performance in and get a good win for the fans."
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