Welsh Union chief executive Martyn Phillips has defended Wales’s schedule of four World Cup warm-up internationals.

Wales have already faced England home and away and have another double-header against Ireland on 31 August and 7 September.

Phillips insists the decision to play four World Cup games was not financially motivated.

“To my knowledge all other teams are playing four games,” said Phillips.

“The choice was made to play four and even when I look at it today it feels like the right decision.”

‘No substitute for playing’

Legendary full-back JPR and fly-half James Hook were among those who have voiced concerns that players could suffer injuries before the tournament.

Gareth Anscombe was ruled out of the World Cup in the opening warm-up games against England but Taulupe Faletau suffered his tournament-ending injury in training.

“The analogy I would use is that it is a bit like the British and Irish Lions in that how many games you have before the first Test is critical,” said Phillips.

“If you talk to the players after the Twickenham game against England, they had not played for 10 or 12 weeks and really felt it after the game.

Taulupe Faletau

“There is no substitute for playing and injuries can be picked up in training.”

Phillips said that the plan was always to have two home warm-up matches – and that as long as they did that, they made no further money by playing four games in total, rather than three.

says it was “fair” to criticise Wales’ decision to play four matches, but Phillips said the Wales head coach was involved in the planning process.

“Those decisions are made in conjunction with the coaches,” said Phillips.

“We looked at the review after the 2015 World Cup and you are always going to play three or four warm-up games.

“It would not matter if we played three or four financially because if we played three, we would still play two home games. We are not making any more money with four matches.

“I was very relaxed about it with Warren to ask if he wanted to play three or four because I knew I was going to be playing two of those at home.

“That agreement has been made a while ago. What has brought it into focus in Wales is the way the World Cup draw panned out was that we were able to play Ireland and England home and away which are four tough games.

“If we’d had England in the same pool as us, we wouldn’t have been playing them at all. We might have been playing Ireland home and away, along with Scotland and Italy.”

Wales begin their World Cup campaign in Japan against Georgia on Monday, 23 September before further pool matches against , Fiji and .


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