Wales and Harris aiming high

PA Sport
Iestyn Harris's Wales side take on England on Saturday

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Iestyn Harris's Wales side take on England on Saturday

Wales have set themselves a four-year target to become one of the game's super powers.

Head coach Iestyn Harris has overseen a rise from 15th to sixth in the world rankings during his three years at the helm, and on Tuesday spoke of his ambition to secure a top-three spot.

Harris will have the chance to gauge his side's prospects when England, who currently occupy third place behind Australia and world champions New Zealand, provide the next opposition for his emerging side in the second match of the autumn international series in Wrexham on Saturday.

England are fresh from a 10-day high-altitude training camp in South Africa but Harris insists there is no envy on his part as he attempts to turn his largely part-time squad into world-beaters.

"England are a lot further advanced than we are but we have aspirations to get there," Harris said from the North Wales Performance Centre in Deeside.

"We have created our own centre of excellence - we've our own pitch and our own gym - where we are carrying out base-line tests to find out where our players are in preparation for next year's World Cup.

"We're breaking new ground and our ambition is get into the top by 2016 or 2017."

More immediately, Harris is looking for an improvement on his side's 20-6 defeat by France in last Saturday's tournament opener in Lens when they take on Steve McNamara's men at the Racecourse Ground.

"We need to improve a couple of areas where we didn't quite get it right," Harris added. "The desire from the players was magnificent but we didn't channel it in the right direction and we lacked patience in our defence.

"We only had six or seven days prior to the competition to work with the players and a lot of them are semi-professional, so we've got to bring them up to speed as quickly as possible. It's an important week for them - we're striving to get consistency at this level of intensity."

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