New Zealand coach Graham Henry is backing Wales to put their off the field problems behind them and be successful in the World Cup later this year.
A number of Welsh players have been involved in uncalled for headlines away from rugby in recent months with Scrum-half Mike Phillips the latest after he was involved in an incident outside a restaurant early on Tuesday morning.
This is not the sort of news Wales want to have in a World Cup year, but Henry actually believes they could end up benefiting from the various off the field issues.
The former Wales coach said: “I usually think that a bit of adversity actually produces some edge. As long as it doesn’t happen every week.”
This is certainly what current Welsh coach Warren Gatland will be hoping for. He wants everyone in a Wales RWC Shirt later this year to be committed to the cause and 100% focused on performing for their country.
If their determination to succeed has increased because of a need to prove themselves to off the field critics, then so be it. That appears to be Henry’s opinion anyway.
He is right when he says that there needs to be a balance though. There is no way having a Welsh player producing negative headlines every week is going to help the team.
It makes their margin for error smaller too. If they perform poorly in the opening couple of games, the fans will not be happy and would possibly cite the off the field distractions as reasons for the team’s demise.
Overall, it is going to be an interesting tournament for Wales. Anything could happen. They have the players capable of being more than competitive, but can they all come together when it counts and perform as their fans expect?
We will perhaps know more after Wales’ opening pool match at the World Cup. They take on South Africa in Wellington and if they show positive signs here, they will go into the less daunting matches against Fiji, Namibia and Samoa with a suitable amount of confidence.