Charteris enjoying the ride
October 11, 2011
Wales lock Luke Charteris is keen that the squad keeps enjoying their World Cup journey © Getty Images
Luke Charteris believes it is imperative Wales keep enjoying their Rugby World Cup experience despite the enormous pressure of a semi-final clash against France.
The giant Dragons lock is set to overcome a shoulder injury in time to start what has been dubbed the biggest game in Welsh rugby history, at Eden Park on Saturday, and he has no doubt that Wales must try to make it business as usual.
"The coaches are trying to keep us relaxed," he said. "We will just enjoy the whole experience. It is new for us and we are just loving it at the moment."
He added: "To make the final would be massive. The [Wales] team in 1987 got to the semi-finals, and they lost there [to New Zealand].
"Unfortunately, we have not been back since then and we are aware of that. For a lot of us, this is our first World Cup. We just want to keep going on."
France have beaten Wales six times from the last seven meetings stretching back to 2005, and Charteris believes Les Bleus' quarter-final victory over England underlined their danger.
"They are a quality team," he said. "On paper, the boys they have playing there are great and there is probably no better team in the world on paper. France will never be underdogs to anybody.
"France knocked out England, and that is no mean feat. Look, we lost our first Pool game to South Africa. Teams progress, and the longer you are together the better you get, and hopefully it is the same for us as it is for them. They are hard to beat and it will be another tough one, but the boys are confident and we are enjoying the whole experience."
Back in Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has decided to show the match on four big screens at the Millennium Stadium and there has been a staggering 15,000 ticket applications received so far, with the number growing steadily.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
In the blink of an eye, a winger can go from a hero to villain. Hugh Godwin talks to Zac Guildford and David Strettle about life on the flank
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup