Griffiths can't wait for Ireland clash
Wales assistant coach Clive Griffiths believes that Wales v Ireland in Pontypridd this Sunday (kick-off 5pm) will be a match to remember as the two Celtic nations fight for a place in the rugbyleague.com European Cup Final.
Both teams have seen off Serbia, the minnows of the three-team group, in their first match, Ireland winning 82-0 two weeks ago in Tullamore while Wales travelled to Smederevo last weekend and came home 88-8 winners.
The match is destined to be very close and if the scores are tied at the end of the game, sudden death Golden Point will decide who goes through to the Final.
Griffiths is happy at Wales’ performance against Serbia believing it will be a great boost for Sunday’s crucial game.
“You’ve got to look at the opposition in context,” Griffiths said. “But what we’re very pleased about is how the boys stuck to the gameplan. We made a few changes in strategies from the England game and we’re pleased with how they adapted to those changes. The boys were very clinical and never took their foot off the gas and ran in 15 tries.”
The former Wales coach is enjoying being back in the rugby league international scene after nine years away and is especially happy to be helping out Iestyn Harris, a man who he has been involved with almost throughout his rugby career.
“We go back a long way,” Griffiths confirmed. “Right back from when he was a spotty 16-year old at Warrington. I’ve watched his career grow and grow and was there at Warrington, Wales rugby union and rugby league as well as Great Britain when he made his debuts for each of those teams so we’ve sort of run parallel along the way. As a coach he’s showing the qualities that he had as a player. He’s pretty cool and knows the game inside out obviously. Now he’s just getting to learn a new type of role that he’s not that he’s not been accustomed to over the years. It’s different this side of the fence as he’s finding out. I think we can bounce a few things off each other and right now it’s working very well.”
The Welsh team arrived back in the country on Monday and had a couple of days off before resuming training on Thursday (today). Griffiths is now back in camp getting the players ready for their big clash.
“We watched a bit of the Ireland v Serbia game and they seemed to play their game in the same way as us, they hit them with everything they had,” Griffiths said. “There are some very good and skilful players in the Irish team and I think it’s going to be a tremendous Celtic clash at Sardis Road on Sunday. I’m expecting no quarter to be given.
“Ireland are a good team. They’ve got Barrie McDermott on board coaching with them so obviously a few things that he knows is going to rub off on them. I’m sure they’re going to arrive in Wales well armed and very confident that they can do the job. But in the same token, we’re ready for them and whatever they throw at us, we’ll give it back. It’s going to be a match to remember. The rugbyleague.com European Cup Final is at stake here and we want to be there on November 8th.”