Ross Moriarty opens up on moment he thought his World Cup was over

Ross Moriarty went from zero to hero against France. Image: Pleclown

by Callum Ellis

ROSS Moriarty has opened up on the moment he thought his World Cup was over during Wales’ 20-19 victory over France.

The Dragons number eight replaced the injured Josh Navidi as a first-half replacement in the quarter-final against Les Bleus.

But with less than two minutes into his introduction, Moriarty caught France centre Gael Fickou on the chin with a high tackle.

Despite a nervous wait, referee Jaco Peyper produced a yellow card and Moriarty served 10 minutes in the sin bin.
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“I went on thinking ‘he [Fickou] is going to run around me and then I’ll jump on him’, but he’d ducked and gone under my tackle,” said Moriarty, speaking on BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly.

“I’ve ended up catching him on the jaw which was not intentional. I was obviously relieved it was only a yellow but I did fear the worst.

“I knew what the consequences would have been for myself and the team if that [red card] did happen.

“My heart stopped.”

Watching on from the sidelines as Vrimi Vakatawa dabbed down for France’s third try of the evening, the 25-year-old admitted he wanted to make amends.

And went from zero to hero with six minutes to go, as he went over from close range to score the decisive try before Dan Biggar’s successful conversion ensured Wales took the lead for the first time.
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“Sitting on the naughty boys’ chair, I was thinking, ‘I can’t make any sort of mistake here because it’s going to cost us so much,” he added.

“I was going back on and thinking ‘please don’t run near me’. 

“But to score the winning try, it was a great effort from the forwards and backs.

“We did great in that scrum and Tomos Williams had a brilliant rip and I’m not sure how Tips [Justin Tipuric] didn’t finish it off. 

“It was definitely slow motion when I was running up to the ball and it was literally an inch away.”
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Moriarty will win his 40th cap in Sunday’s semi-final showdown against South Africa in Yokohama.

And having fallen at this stage against the French eight years ago, the Springboks now stand between Wales and a place in their first World Cup final.

“We’re a country of only 3,000,000 people and everyone is behind us back home.

“The ones that have travelled over here and the people we have here supporting us in Japan have been unbelievable. I’m looking forward to this weekend against South Africa and then we could be into a World Cup final. 

“A lot of the talking is done in the week before the game and the hard graft in training speaks for itself. Warren [Gatland] will have his part to play before the game with what he says.

“But there’s no need to get anyone rallied up because we all know how much it means to us, Wales and however many supporters we have around the world.”