1. ITV Report

Ken Owens says Wales will gain confidence from past experiences against France

Ken Owens in action in the victory over France in this year's Six Nations. Credit: PA Images

Ken Owens believes that experience is a key factor behind Wales' successful big-game mentality. The Six Nations champions tackle World Cup quarter-final opponents France in Oita on Sunday.

It will be Wales' third successive last-eight appearance under head coach Warren Gatland, while they have beaten France in seven of the last eight meetings.

If they reach the semi-finals, then an appointment with South Africa could loom, and they have lost five out of six against Wales since 2014.

Throw in a 14-game unbeaten run between March 2018 and this summer, that included defeating Australia, winning two games in Argentina and toppling Ireland to claim a Six Nations Grand Slam, and Wales regularly get it right in high-stakes matches.

Ken Owens during a training session at Oita Stadium. Credit: PA Images

I think it is the confidence we have got in each other. Everybody is pretty comfortable with their role in the squad, both on and off the field. We have had a good continuity in the squad over the last two years, which helps galvanise us.

We know exactly what we are trying to achieve and where we are trying to get to. To be fair, the management prepare us well, and there is no stone left unturned.

There is experience right across the squad now in big games. Liam (Wales full-back Williams) has been successful in England, a lot of players have played in big games for their clubs.

And because we have had a lot of continuity in selection across the squad, the more you play in the big games the more you get used to them, the build-up and what is expected and how to deliver.

– Ken Owens, Wales hooker

Gatland will name his team for the quarter-final on Friday, with centre Jonathan Davies, wing George North and fly-half Dan Biggar all likely to feature after recovering from recent knocks.

And Wales will start as favourites, especially given recent history between the countries.

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