COACH Nick Wakley says Wales have to go toe-to-toe with Canada’s “natural athletes” if they are to keep their Women’s World Cup semi-final hopes alive on Sunday.

Wales go up against a side ranked third in the world in their second Pool A game in Dublin (kick-off 5pm) and have no margin for error.

Rowland Phillips’ side started their campaign with a 44-12 loss to New Zealand at Billings Park on Wednesday and things don’t get any easier against rivals who started with a 98-0 romp against Hong Kong.

“Canada have fantastic athletes all over the field and love a physical game,” said former Ebbw Vale coach Wakley. “They have big runners, attack from depth and run hard.

“I’d probably say they’ve got more natural athletes than New Zealand, so there will be different threats that we will face.

“It’s the same story – we have to match that physicality. If we match that physicality we have rugby brains all over the field to compete.”

Wales felt that the scoreboard didn’t reflect the true nature of their tussle with the Black Ferns but acknowledge they need to mirror the ruthless rugby of the New Zealanders.

“There’s been a bit of frustration, and good frustration,” said Wakley, after the loss that featured second half tries by number eight Sioned Harries and lock Mel Clay.

“We know that we could have been a bit more clinical and we let New Zealand in too often and too easy, gifting them a couple of tries.

“That was one of the best teams in the world but there were plenty of positives. Try-scoring opportunities were there, so there has definitely been a positive twist on it and the girls are excited by the next one.”

Wales face Hong Kong on Thursday (5.15pm, Dublin). The action then moves to Belfast with the semi-finals and play-offs for placings on Tuesday, August 22 and the final day on Saturday, August 26.