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Exeter’s Francis relishing taking on Premiership rivals

Tomas Francis says he is ready and waiting to take on his Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals after Wales got off to a winning start in the World Cup with a 54-9 victory over Uruguay.

The Exeter Chiefs man came on as a replacement for Samson Lee and helped Wales to a comfortable victory and a bonus point in the process.

Bath Rugby star Rhys Priestland was in fine form as he kicked seven conversions along the way for Warren Gatland’s men though it wasn’t all plain sailing.

A shaky start saw Felipe Berchesi put the South Americans ahead but once the nerves settled the Welsh went to work.

Lee’s try got things going before Cory Allen helped himself to a first-half hat-trick to seal the win.

But Francis is aware that things will only get harder from here on out and is relishing the prospect of locking horns with some of the Premiership’s finest, including against England next Saturday at Twickenham.

“It’s good work today but we know what’s coming,” he said. “Playing in the Premiership I have played against all of them and I know what they can bring.

“We are relishing next week and really looking forward to it. We got that one out of the way and we know the rest of the games are going to be hard.

“We have to match them and go up against them.

“I wouldn’t say we have to stand up to them because we don’t fear them at all and as a Welsh team we don’t care where we play home or away.

“We will be there and ready for it and we don’t need any more motivation because everyone knows what it’s about.

“I feel a little bit more confident having played with and against them and knowing what’s going to come.”

With Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies and Rhys Webb all out of action for Wales Gatland, could ill afford more players on the treatment table.

But with Liam Williams, Allen, Paul Hames and Dan Lydiate all picking up knocks it was a far-from ideal way to build for next week’s clash.

But Francis is confident that Wales  will be strong enough and admits he was glad to come through the first test.

“We picked up a few niggles and we don’t know the extent of that now but I think it was a case of not taking a risk,” he added.

“It was good to get out there and get it out of the way really. I never thought I’d be here so it’s a great experience for me.

“It was a bit scrappy but I thought all of us did well and we stayed on top of them in the scrums and the mauls and that served us well.”

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