CARDIFF (Reuters) - Uruguay flyhalf Felipe Berchesi is relishing the once-in-a-lifetime experience of playing Wales in his team’s opening Rugby World Cup match in Cardiff on Sunday.
The South Americans, widely regarded as makeweights in the tournament’s “group of death” alongside England, Australia, Wales and Fiji, begin their campaign at the home of Welsh rugby.
“Since I was a child I have dreamed of playing that stadium,” Berchesi told reporters on Tuesday.
”I admire the Welsh as rugby players and the Millennium Stadium is the summit of the rugby world. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am a rugby freak, I watch it 24/7 and I love to see the Welsh singing. It’s iconic, the stadium, the whole environment.”
Prop Carlos Arboleya echoed his team mate’s enthusiasm ahead of Uruguay’s third World Cup appearance, following their tournament debut in 1999, when they won a pool game against Spain, and their victory against Georgia four years later.
“For me it is a dream come true, the result of all of the effort that we have put in to qualify, to be in Wales to play at that stadium,” he said.
Wing Leandro Leivas, however, offered a reality check amid all the hype.
“We acknowledge the difference between us and the other teams and we are going to put our identity into each game,” he said.
“We need a better defence, to have more ball possession. We noticed it during our two recent matches in Japan and we’re working on that.
”If we are going to play in the World Cup we need to play against the best teams in the world and be in the best physical condition, and we know that every team will try to score against us as much as possible.”
Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Neville Dalton