Josh Adams has admitted Wales were irritated to concede two tries against Georgia as they realise they will require far better in their next World Cup clash against Australia.
With their opening match now out of the way – a mixed bag of dominance, sparkling tries, and then a loss of direction in their 43-14 win – Wales must now re-focus on Sunday’s crucial Pool D match against the Wallabies.
Cardiff Blues wing Adams showcased his rich form by scoring a brilliant solo try as Wales saw off the Georgians at the City of Toyota Stadium.
The Wales squad head to Tokyo from Toyota City on Tuesday, after which attention will turn to Australia and a game that should decide the final pool standings.
They will do so, as expected, without lock Corey Hill who has failed to recover from the stress fracture in his leg and is being replaced by Ospreys forward Bradley Davies.
Hill will return home to continue his recovery, an outcome that Warren Gatland and his management had gambled against when they selected the injured Dragons players for the tournament.
With Adam Beard still recovering from an operation to remove his appendix, Davies is likely to go straight onto the bench against the Aussies.
Asked if the Wallabies game would be the biggest week of his Wales career, Adams said: “Probably, yes.
“Of course, it’s massive. We will still have to get through Fiji and Uruguay, and Fiji did well against Australia in their first game.
“Looking at it, you could argue it (Australia) is the crunch game, but we have to dust ourselves off first of all.
“We are pretty disappointed we conceded those two tries (against Georgia), to be honest with you.
“I think we were looking to keep them scoreless, but Australia is something to look forward to. It’s a six-day turnaround, and we will manage the week well and look forward to getting out there on Sunday.
“We’d been itching for a game for so long. After Ireland and the last of the warm-up games we were all desperate to play the following week. It seems like we’ve been training forever.
“The energy and the keenness showed in the first half where we were pretty keen and fluent. We were ruthless, really, and everything we did went to plan. We will need to do that again on Sunday.”
Adams paid tribute to the influence of Stephen Jones, who has replaced Rob Howley as attack coach after the assistant to Gatland was sent home to answer allegations of gambling regulations being breached.
“Scoring off first phase is always what you want to do as a backline. We looked at a few aspects of that and Steve has come in seamlessly and worked really well. The boys have galvanised together and that showed in the first half.”
Wales ended a long run of defeats against Australia by beating them 9-6 last November, and another huge occasion beckons.
“They’ve got some outstanding players and big threats over the ball, so that’s going to be a massive focus for us this week – getting over the ball,” Adams added.
“In the second half of the Georgia game we were a bit weak over the ball and got pushed off a couple of times. That is going to be a big emphasis for us with (David) Pocock and (Michael) Hooper, so we need to tighten up that contact area.”
Next Sunday’s victors could potentially end up avoiding England in the quarter-finals, and it promises to be a high-octane occasion decided by fine margins.
“Turnover rate is quite important. We can’t give teams as good as Australia easy ‘ins’ into our half,” Adams said.
“We need to be clean and apply pressure on them to force them into mistakes. It’s a bit of a kicking battle at times, but you need that to get the ascendancy on the pitch.
“When you get an opportunity you have to take it, as against good teams you don’t get many. We can’t afford to give away cheap penalties.
“Australia looked fast and fit (against Fiji) last weekend, and in the latter stages of the second half they really put their foot on the throat to rack up their points.
“Australia always have great runners in midfield with Tevita Kuridrani and Marika Koroibete, and they have threats across the park.
“It will be an 80-minute battle for sure, but we are going to back our fitness and take it to them.”