Rugby World Cup 2011: Luke Charteris does not fear Irish duo

Rugby World Cup 2011 quarter-final: Ireland v Wales

Venue:
Wellington Regional Stadium
Date:
Saturday, 8 October
Kick-off:
0600 BST/ 1800 NZ
Coverage:
Live text commentary, scores and report on BBC website; updates on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1 & S4C (Welsh language), live commentary on BBC Radio Cymru (Welsh language) & TalkSport radio
Luke Charteris
Luke Charteris made his Wales debut against South Africa in 2004

Wales lock Luke Charteris says he is not intimidated by facing Ireland stars Paul O'Connell and and Donncha O'Callaghan in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final.

Charteris has become a first-choice after a stop-start Wales career and will partner Alun Wyn Jones against the British and Irish Lions duo.

But the 28-year-old said: "I don't think there is any intimidating factor.

"If you do feel it, you are probably in the wrong sort of sport."

However, the Newport Gwent Dragon, who won his first cap as a replacement against South Africa in 2004, said Wales are wary of the threat posed by Munster's second-row partnership.

"They are both quality players. O'Connell probably gets more of the limelight, but O'Callaghan is a class player in his own right.

"He does probably more of the donkey work.

"Both of them are really good players, and it will be a challenge to keep up with those two.

"I have not played with O'Connell, but how he leads is obviously a big part of his game. Playing against him, you see he's a good competitor.

"He will go up in the air on our throw, he does his homework on opponents, he is an honest worker around the field and he carries a lot for them as well."

But for Charteris, facing such renowned opponents leaves him with the sort of challenges he relishes.

"The days of being intimidated in rugby are long gone," he added. "It is a challenge, and one that excites you.

"When you come up against a highly-rated pair it means you just have to raise your game.

"I always have the mindset that the better the opposition the more you have to raise your game.

"That is the challenge, and that is what makes you a better player.

"I have never been intimidated before a game or during a game, as a young player or now."

Charteris had featured intermittently during coach Warren Gatland's reign, largely because of niggling injuries.

But Gatland has lauded the 6ft 9in, 19st 4lb player as his "number one" lock ahead of Ospreys' Lion Jones and Cardiff Blue Bradley Davies.

The Cambourne-born man started three of Wales' Pool D games - the 17-16 defeat by South Africa, 17-10 win over Samoa before coming on in the heavy win against Namibia and returning to the starting line-up in the Fiji rout that followed.

"We are very happy with the way the line-out has gone," added Charteris.

"We have been up against a lot of teams who have put pressure on us, but we've come out with real big statistics.

"Ireland will do a lot of work on us, but we will rely on our processes.

"The line-out is an area of the game that changes. They bring little rules in and you have to adapt, perhaps come up with new ideas to stay one step ahead

"For a lot of us it is our first time at a tournament like this, and we are loving every minute of it.

"Four years is a long time in rugby - you never know what is going to happen next week, let alone four years down the line - and I think everyone treats this as their last World Cup.

"If you are lucky enough to get another one, it is a bonus.

"We were in such a tough group that we knew we were going to have to hit the ground running and there would be no let-up from the first start to hopefully the final.

"So far, it is as we expected. We've had four tough games and we've tried to raise our performances each time we have taken the field.

"Facing Ireland, we know we are battle-hardened and ready for it."

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll

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