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Three defeats in four warm-up matches, down from first to fifth in the world rankings and a lack of momentum going into the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this month.
However, if Warren Gatland is worried about Wales’ World Cup preparations, he wasn’t showing it in Dublin after the second loss to Ireland in less than a week.
“The competition starts now”. That was the defiant message confidently delivered from the Wales head coach as he reflected on a 19-10 defeat against Joe Schmidt’s side.
Wales fly to Japan on Wednesday and face Georgia in their opening match 12 days later with the Australia, Fiji and Uruguay Tests to follow.
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The build-up has been long and arduous with a few bumps along the way. Problems have arisen and some questions remain unanswered.
But Wales’ World Cup journey now accelerates as Gatland looks to bow out in style as Wales boss.
Wales arrived in August for the summer programme of matches as Grand Slam champions, on a 14-match winning sequence and ranked second in the world.
What has followed is a hat-trick of losses, two against Ireland and an England defeat at Twickenham.
A contrasting solitary victory against Eddie Jones’ men at the Principality Stadium resulted in a two-week period where Wales were ranked as the world’s best side with some fans basking in the short-lived glory.
That double defeat against Ireland in the space of seven days leaves Wales lying in fifth. They are behind South A
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