Test rugby return means adjustments for Wales, says Tipuric

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Six Nations Championship - England v Wales
FILE PHOTO: Six Nations Championship - England v Wales

CARDIFF (Reuters) - Wales loose forward Justin Tipuric anticipates some adjustment for himself and his team mates as test rugby in the northern hemisphere returns this weekend after the COVID-19 hiatus.

“Everyone knows it’s different, even the build-up is much quieter than normal which is a bit weird,” he said amid a lockdown in Wales as novel coronavirus infections increase.

Similar restrictions are in force in Paris where the Welsh meet France in a warm-up test at Stade de France on Saturday.

“We are in a lucky position to be continuing to be doing what we are doing in a such a strange time," Tipuric told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Hopefully this weekend we can get the Welsh public to tune in and chill out by putting a good performance on.

"It’s going to be a little weird playing again. It has been a long time out of international rugby and normally with tests you get the big crowds and all that side of it and it’s going to be weird not having that.”

Tipuric, 31, said the strict heath protocols in place at the team's resort hotel and training centre took some getting used to.

“We have our own rooms now when before we shared with someone and there are separate changing rooms for the backs and forwards. We trust in all the protocols. The best thing we can do is just concentrate on the game.”

Saturday’s match is a warm-up before both countries complete their delayed Six Nations schedule on Oct. 31 when Wales host Scotland in Llanelli and France take on Ireland in Paris.

“There is no such thing as a friendly against France. A test match is a test and we know they'll come guns blazing. They’ve had a good Six Nations,” the British & Irish Lions flank added, which included beating Wales 27-23 in Cardiff in February.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)