Rugby League World Cup: Media criticism can motivate Wales, says coach Kear

By Huw MorganBBC Wales Sport in Townsville
John Kear makes a point to his Wales team during training
John Kear makes a point to his Wales players during training
Rugby League World Cup: Wales v Fiji
Date: Sunday, 5 November Venue: Townsville Stadium, Queensland Kick-off: 08:30 GMT
Coverage: Watch live coverage and highlights on BBC TV, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app and listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra.

Wales head coach John Kear says media criticism can motivate his side against Fiji in the Rugby League World Cup.

His side were hammered 50-6 by Papua New Guinea in their opening game and face a Fiji side buoyant after a 58-12 win against the United States.

"We are underdogs, we really are perceived as underdogs in the Australian media," said Kear.

"Perhaps it's being a little disrespectful, and they don't see us as viable opposition for Fiji."

And the former England and France coach added: "You don't want to be told you're not good, it's bound to motivate you."

Kear was critical of his team after the rout in Port Moresby, accusing his players of playing like rank outsiders, and is looking for a big improvement against Fiji in Queensland.

Wales players enjoy their day off with snakes and crocodiles

But they face a team boasting some of the biggest names in rugby league, including Jarryd Hayne, back in the sport after a stint in American football's NFL, and who was in the Australia team that won the 2013 World Cup.

Wales have been making the most of their time in Townsville with players visiting the Great Barrier Reef and a local zoo.

But Kear has also been putting the team through tough training sessions conducted mid-afternoon in temperatures exceeding 30C to acclimatise players who struggled in the heat against Papua New Guinea.

Wales also trained with Italy on Thursday, which Kear said was invaluable.

"We wanted to up the intensity," he added.

"It threw up a few different scenarios, and I've come away feeling satisfied."

You can follow the fortunes of your favourite team with live match notifications sent straight to your phone or tablet via the BBC Sport app. Line-up, kick-off, score, half-time and full-time options are available for all teams participating at the World Cup.

Top Stories


Elsewhere on the BBC