- By Ceri Coleman-Phillips
- BBC Sport Wales in Versailles
Rugby World Cup 2023: Wales v Georgia
Venue: Stade de la Baujoire, Nantes Date: Saturday 7 October Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app.
After a few well-deserved days off following their demolition of Australia, it is back to business for Wales’ World Cup stars on Friday.
They took part in an open training session in Versailles, watched by more than 1,000 fans, as their prepare for Georgia and a quarter-final match.
Players were put through a rigorous double session before taking time to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
“It’s tough, having a few days off and coming back,” said hooker Elliot Dee.
“But it was great to have something like that to blow the cobwebs off.”
The players’ down time has included family trips to Disneyland and sightseeing around Paris.
“Obviously it was great to have a few days with family, refresh, not think about rugby and spend some time with them and give back for some of the sacrifices they’ve made,” added Dee.
“There’s a lot of young kids in the squad and partners staying at home with young kids. We miss a lot of the hard work when we’re away, so it’s lovely.
“The emphasis with Gats [head coach Warren Gatland] is always family-first.”
Prop Corey Domachowski said the reception they received at training and at the tournament as a whole “was brilliant”.
“We were kids once and we’d get excited when a professional club came along,” he said.
“It’s nice to have your pictures taken and sign a few autographs. You’ve got to put yourself in their shoes, remember you were a kid once and realise what it means to them.”
Domachowski and Dee were among a handful of Wales players spotted at Disneyland, along with Dewi Lake, Leigh Halfpenny, Josh Adams, George North, Gareth Thomas and Nicky Smith.
North joked on social media the day out was “for the kids… honest!”.
Elsewhere, Liam Williams posted a video on social media of he and Gareth Davies enjoying a cycle around Paris with their wives, while a few players took an obligatory photo at the foot of Paris’ most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower.
Dan Biggar headed home to Toulon to recover from a strained chest muscle, while Louis Rees-Zammit and Johnny Williams made a dash back to the coast to soak up some sun in Cannes.
Head coach Gatland has also been enjoying some quality time with his family, who flew over from New Zealand to celebrate his 60th birthday.
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A few players even headed back to Wales, with lock Adam Beard having an extra special reason.
Fresh from winning his 50th cap against the Wallabies, he hot-footed it home in time to welcome a new baby daughter with his wife.
The arrival could not have come at a better time with Wales not back in action until 7 October, when they will play Georgia in their final Pool C game.
Beard, who already has two sons with Celtic Dragons netballer Chelsea, wrote on social media his “gang is complete”.
He will link back up with the squad on Saturday.
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Refreshed and recharged, Wales’ focus is now straight on Georgia, who they will play in Nantes on Saturday, 7 October.
Fly-half Biggar remains a concern for the Georgia game after coming off against Australia with the pectoral problem, while full-back Liam Williams missed training on Friday due to illness.
Halfpenny also sat out the open session on Friday with Biggar but both players had trained in the morning.
Wales have already secured their place in the knockouts and they could top the group without kicking a ball this weekend if Georgia beat Fiji.
Should Fiji win with a bonus point, they will go through with Wales, but Gatland’s side will top the group if they pick up at least two points against Georgia.
“Winning that Australia game was a huge moment for us in terms of qualifying, and having those days off was good to have that feel-good factor,” said Wales assistant coach Jonathan Thomas.
“You can’t look back and say we’re confident because of that victory. Confidence comes from preparation and the hard work.
“We need to hit reset, as the boys have done today. We’ve got a tough game next week and we’ll be completely focused on that.”
Wales’ quarter-final opponents will come from Pool D.
England have already topped the group and should Wales finish top of their group, they will face either Japan or Argentina, who play in Nantes the day after Wales face Georgia.