Wales coach John Kear is known as an assertive character in the rugby league community, and he is taking some of that combative attitude into his team’s World Cup qualifier with Italy in Monza this weekend.
“There’s certainly been an element of focus and intensity in the training sessions and I think it’s kicked us up the backside,” Kear said, according to BBC Sport.
“Italy have got a really good team that’s littered with Super League and NRL experience so it will be a fair old challenge. They’ve got some good quality personnel and looked a good solid side when they played Serbia.
“These are pressure games and the type of games you want to be involved with as players and as coaches. We’ve got to be nailing these types of games.”
Should Wales lose to the Italians, then they will head into a play-off against the losers of the Ireland v Russia game, also held this weekend, to see who will claim the final European qualifying spot for the World Cup.
“We know that’s the safety valve but we don’t want the safety valve,” Kear asserted.
“We’re not talking about that and we’re not thinking about that.”