Rugby League World Cup 2013: Wales can still qualify, says Harris

Wales rugby league side beaten by Italy
Wales rugby league side beaten by Italy

Wales coach Iestyn Harris says his side can still qualify for the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup despite their opening defeat by Italy.

Wales were beaten 32-16 by Italy in their opening game of the tournament on home soil at the Millennium Stadium.

Harris' side needs to win their next game against the USA at the Racecourse on 3 November and then the Cook Islands the following week.

Rugby League World Cup highlights: Wales 16-32 Italy

"We have got to win our next two games," said Harris.

"We've still got a good chance of going through. You don't want to lose any game.

"If we could afford to lose one, then this was it. We were short in a lot of areas.

"The game is won and lost... with your kicking game and we lost the key areas and key battles that we needed to win."

Wales were 16-14 ahead in the second half, but conceded 18 unanswered points to a strong Italian side inspired by two-try centre Aidan Guerra.

Harris' side must now beat the USA and Cook Islands in their remaining two group games to have any realistic chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

The coach said he had no complaints about Wales' defeat but backed his side to bounce back from the loss.

"I thought the best side won, I think it's fair to say that," said Harris.

"They had a bit more class in a few little key areas, but we've got a great spirit in the Welsh side.

"My players gave everything they got and I won't say anything against them.

"I thought we had an opportunity when we put our noses in front, but we dropped a couple of balls when we had a bit of momentum.

"When you have got momentum in games you have got to take advantage and we didn't do that.

Elliot Kear, Rhodri Lloyd and Ben Evans scored tries for Wales, while Lloyd White kicked two goals.

"If we are at our best then we will challenge anybody," said Harris.

"Unfortunately we weren't at our best, but what you don't do is throw everything out of the window and change the script.

"You have got to make sure you believe in the way you are playing and I know the players and staff do.

"We've just got to make sure we improve in a lot of little areas to get the right result next week against USA."

Top Stories