DRAGONS hooker Elliot Dee says the hard graft starts now as Wales prepare to head to Japan.

Warren Gatland's men have completed their World Cup warm-ups and fly out on Wednesday to start getting ready for their Pool A opener against Georgia on September 23.

Wales went to number one in World Rugby's rankings when they avenged a Twickenham loss to England but have lost that title after back-to-back losses to Ireland.

Nonetheless, front rower Dee believes they are in good shape ahead of the tournament, which pits them against Australia, Fiji and Uruguay as well as the Lelos.

The Welsh squad were put through their paces in gruelling training camps in Switzerland and Turkey but now are ready to get down to the real nitty-gritty.

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"It was lovely to be named in the squad. I am just really looking forward to getting out there," said the 25-year-old from Newbridge.

"We have got a great group of boys. We have played some good rugby over the last 18 months, and we are really excited to get out there and show what we can do.

"We have talked about it for a long time now. It's been a brilliant journey so far, and we have got to go out there and perform now.

"This squad has shown what it can do over the last two years. Everyone works incredibly hard, and we are looking to work as hard as we can and get as far as we can."

READ MORE: Dee ready to live the dream at the World Cup

Dee featured in all four warm-up Tests with three appearances off the bench before earning a start in the 19-10 loss to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

The Dragons hooker has established himself in Warren Gatland's squad since his debut against Georgia in 2017 and is keen to keep the heat on Lions forward Ken Owens.

"It was great to get a starting jersey. It's something I have been pushing for for a few weeks," said Dee, who won his 22nd cap and has missed just two fixtures since his Test bow.

"I felt like I needed to blow off some cobwebs and get some minutes under my belt. Any time you get selected to play for Wales it's brilliant, and I really enjoyed it.

"We are obviously disappointed not to get a win. We went to Ireland to get a win before jetting off to Japan.

"We had a decent first half but probably too many turnovers in the second half cost us and we ended up defending for most of it really.

"It was a frustrating experience, especially after opening up in the second 20 minutes of the first half, and we hoped to carry on from there, but unfortunately it didn't go our way in the second half."

Fly-half Rhys Patchell will be assessed ahead of the departure after he suffered a blow to the head in Dublin.

The Scarlets number 10 suffered a third concussion in 12 months and went off midway through the first half following an attempted tackle on Ireland back-row forward CJ Stander.

"He's gone a little bit low where he has probably got that knock," said head coach Gatland. "The ironic thing with World Rugby is they are keeping the tackles down, but most concussions come from the tackler going low and hitting knees and hips.

It was Patchell's first Test start since June last year when he starred with a 20-point haul against Argentina in Santa Fe.

He is one of two fly-halves in Wales head coach Warren Gatland's 31-man squad for Japan, having edged out Jarrod Evans to secure a place alongside Dan Biggar.