Wales get 'southern hemisphere lesson'
Wales coach John Kear concedes his side were taught a physical lesson in the heavy 50-6 defeat to Papua New Guinea in their opening Rugby League World Cup clash and has called for rapid improvement.
The heavy loss was compounded by several contact injuries throughout the game for Kear's men, who were physically dominated by the Kumuls for the entire 80 minutes.
Humid conditions also played a major factor in the defeat, but that trend is only set to continue for the Welsh with a match against Fiji scheduled in Townsville for next week.
It was Wales who defeated PNG by a similar 44-point margin a decade ago, but the results have since reversed – showing the rise of the Kumuls who finally broke a 17-year drought with their first World Cup victory on Saturday.
"I think it's been a very harsh lesson," Kear said.
"The southern hemisphere fellas really do carry the ball very aggressively and, if you don't stand up to that, you end up getting rolled and losing field position.
"We just never got any opportunity to attack because we couldn't prevent the roll on from Papua New Guinea.
"I've got to compliment them, but I think people will now probably see how to handle them."
Regular NRL first graders David Mead, Nene MacDonald and James Segeyaro were enormous for the Kumuls and visibly showed they were a step above in class.
The task for Wales will not get easier against the Fijian line-up, who put USA to the sword in Townsville and are determined to go deep into the tournament with quality personnel at their disposal.
"We're aware that Fiji are similarly a very good side and that Townsville offers similar conditions to these," Kear said.
"We're going to have to strip ourselves back and have a really good look at ourselves.
"We have to look at team selection, preparation, personnel and we really have got to have a good look at ourselves in all aspects in order to come up with something better."