Alun Wyn Jones Rugby World Cup 2019: Tokyo triumph fuels Wales title dreams

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Alun Wyn Jones Ken Owens and Jonathan Davies

Scarlets pair Ken Owens and Jonathan Davies celebrate Wales’ World Cup win over Australia

It was one balmy night in Tokyo.

Welsh rugby has had many defining days over the years but this World Cup extravaganza takes some beating.

And Wales are now starting to believe. Not just the players and coaches, maybe the nation. Believe that Warren Gatland’s side can actually win the World Cup.

It is an ambition that has been talked about over the past 18 months, especially during the record 14-match unbeaten run of 2018-19.

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That led to Grand Slam success and Wales were even ranked number one in the world for a couple of weeks in August.

Those hopes of World Cup success may have been still exactly that. Hope rather than expectation.

Now this one magical game in Japan has changed all that. After a 13-match losing sequence against the Wallabies, Wales have beaten Australia for a second successive game. And they have won the match that mattered.

Plaudits and comparisons will flow. Wales’ greatest World Cup win? Most impressive Wales performance under Warren Gatland?

What is not in doubt is Wales are now in the driving seat to win Pool D and on a potentially easier path to the final in Yokohama on 2 November.

In front of interested England coach Eddie Jones, Wales maybe have avoided a quarter-final with his side, with France or Argentina lying in wait.

Magical match

First the match. And what a match. A World Cup group game should not evoke such intensity and passion especially in such humid conditions. That is meant to ramp up later in the tournament. But what the crowd of just under 50,000 witnessed in Japan’s capital city will prove unforgettable.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards said before the match the players would remember this game for the rest of their lives. He was right.

A promising tournament had come alive when hosts Japan defeated Ireland. A day later Wales and Australia, two of the big beasts of this co

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