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David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images Wales' Scott Williams scores their second try against Fiji.
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Simon Hick's View from the Frontline: enter the Dragon
It doesn’t matter how many times they’ve been spanked, how long they’ve been in a rut, or how many other nations write them off; the good times are always just around the corner.

THE WELSH GENERATE confidence quicker than any other nation on earth.

It doesn’t matter how many times they’ve been spanked, how long they’ve been in a rut, or how many other nations write them off; the good times are always just around the corner, and the 1970s glory days were only last week.

This sense that they’re eternally building towards something significant, that a few things just need to click and they will be the best again, is one of their greatest strengths.

The provinces think exactly the same way, the Ospreys in particular.

At the end of every season they mutter under their breath about targets not quite being reached, injuries going against them, that there’s a great young out half coming through, and all the progress made at youth level in the last few years is about to bear fruit – yet the Heineken Cup has still to make its way to Wales.

Cardiff on an international weekend is different to any other ground in Europe.

Green, green grass of home

Their fans get excited very early on in a move, when the winger is clearly going to be bundled into touch. The Irish, the French, the Scots – they wait until they’re sure their roars won’t be wasted on another doomed attack.

In Wales there’s no distinguishing between potential and end result. It makes for a great atmosphere, like an over-excited commentator who turns every mundane possession into a potential 80-yard try.

The innate optimism, the naivety, the lack of self-awareness, have helped them win two recent grand slams, and it got them to a semi final in 1987.

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Its like a property boom – if you believe in it enough, it becomes real, and in this World Cup they’ve plucked some form from the ether.

It helps too that those at the centre of this surge have youth on their side, and expressions to match. Sam Warburton and Rhys Priestland lead the charge but George North, the free-scoring teenage winger who has emerged as a real force in the last few months, typifies it better than anybody. He goes at every tackler as though he’s going to go through them, he takes hugely ambitious support lines and aims for the killer move every time, with some justification.

He is yet to have the corners knocked off him (there will be a few Irish players with their hands up to take that job), and that can be a powerful element to have in your favour.

So far, not a single thing has gone wrong for North or Priestland or Warburton in this competition, and why would it?

They’re playing for Wales, who are on the brink of something special.

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