Rugby World Cup 2015: 'Bangs and bruises' warning for Wales

By Gareth RobertsBBC Wales Sport
Rhys Ruddock and Uruguay captain Santiago Vilaseca
Rhys Ruddock and Uruguay captain Santiago Vilaseca at the Tblisi Cup in June, 2015
Rugby World Cup: Wales v Uruguay
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Date: 20 September Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC local radio, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.
Further coverage: BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio.

Ireland flanker Rhys Ruddock says Wales should expect "a few banged and bruised bodies" during their World Cup opener against Uruguay on Sunday.

He predicts a "physical" and "fired up" performance from Los Teros, who he faced for Emerging Ireland in June.

But the son of Wales' 2005 Grand Slam coach Mike says Uruguay will struggle to "cope" with Warren Gatland's side.

"They wouldn't be used to playing at the intensity Wales would be," said five-times capped Ruddock.

Scrum V's guide to Uruguay

The Leinster flanker broke an arm for the second time this year as he led Ireland's development team to a 33-7 win over the South Americans in Tblisi, ruling him out of contention for the World Cup.

Ruddock had previously played against Uruguay in 2013, but his second meeting with Pablo Lemoine's side ended in injury disappointment

"They're definitely improved, but I do think... they shouldn't really have as much quality to deal with the threats Wales have," said Ruddock.

"They're a physical bunch and although they're not probably the biggest team in stature, they play with a lot of heart and desire.

Uruguay's brilliant tacklers

"I think they'll be really fired up for it and put in a big performance."

Ruddock says Uruguay's main attribute - chop tackling - can also lead to disciplinary problems.

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"They are brilliant low tacklers," said Ruddock.

"I think it's more in terms of their mindset - they look to really chop low around the ankles and sometimes they can be done for ill-discipline with not wrapping [their arms around opponents].

"But in terms of their ability to stop players at the gain-line they are definitely good.

Uruguay coach Pablo Lemoine
Uruguay coach Pablo Lemoine makes a point during training ahead of facing Wales

"However, if you're able to hold on to the ball and weather the storm for a couple of phases, they tend to not be as well organised as some of the top teams."

Fitness worries for Los Teros

Ruddock says fitness is also likely to be an issue for a team of amateurs against Wales' professionals.

"If you hold on to the ball and bring them through phases and play with intensity and accuracy... they can be broken down quite easily from four or five phases onwards."

He added: "I'm sure it will be a physical encounter and you'd have a few banged and bruised bodies."

The Rugby World Cup in numbers

However, Ruddock says his own injury - a second arm break, but not in the same place as the first - had little to do with Uruguayan muscle.

Ruddock's World Cup hopes

"They were physical, but I don't think it had any influence because it was actually the outside-half [Alejo Duran] who landed on me and I don't think he would have been their most physical player.

"It was just a bit of misfortune, kind of an awkward fall as opposed to the influence of the Uruguayans."

Wales' World Cup pool games
Sunday, 20 Sept, 14:30 BST: Wales v Uruguay, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 26 Sept, 20:00 BST: England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium
Thursday, 1 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Fiji, Millennium Stadium
Saturday, 10 Oct, 16:45 BST: Wales v Australia, Twickenham Stadium

Ruddock is set to return for Leinster during the World Cup, giving him a chance of a call-up if injuries strike Joe Schmidt's squad.

"I'm almost back playing myself and I'm hoping to be back on the field for the next Pro12 game," he said.

"If that's the case, I'll be fully fit as the World Cup continues."