OITA, 19 Oct - Justin Tipuric says Wales will be driven by the bitter memory of their 2015 defeat by South Africa as they bid to avoid a second successive World Cup quarter-final exit.

Four years ago, injury-hit Wales lost 23-19 after a 75th-minute Springboks try, and Tipuric is one of seven survivors in the 23 for Sunday's last-eight clash with France at Oita Stadium.

"You don't want to lose any game, but unfortunately in rugby there are lots of ups and downs in your career," said Tipuric, who came off the bench at Twickenham for that devastating defeat in 2015, pictured, but is now one of Warren Gatland's key men.

"That match was one of those frustrating times when we lost. The boys have learned from it and we don't want to feel disappointment like that again. Fingers crossed it won't happen."

Much has been made of the consistency and togetherness of the Wales squad, which has been led by Gatland since 2007. Tipuric agreed that the accumulated experience will stand them in good stead. 

"Experience is quite a big thing in rugby. If you've been there before and learned from those experiences, it is going to help in big games, and big players normally make a difference in those games.

"This year feels different to 2015, and going undefeated as well helps in building confidence. Being able to pick from a fully fit squad is another positive.

"It's been quite relaxed in camp this week. Everyone is excited and looking forward to playing in a World Cup quarter-final and just want to get out there and perform on the big stage."

Wales are favourites to beat France - to whom they lost in the 2011 World Cup semi-final - having won seven of their past eight meetings.

They have won 19 of their past 22 tests, including a record 14-match unbeaten run, with the only defeats coming in three of their four warm-up games.

"We are still coming under the radar a bit, but we probably are favourites," said the flanker, pictured in training, below. "It's never been spoken of all week. We are just concentrating on our roles and what we've got to do to beat France.

"It is not much different to what we have done in the past, but we know we have to be on our game to do it. 

"Over the last few years, we have played the right gameplan against France and the one game we did lose was the 100-minute match, which was pretty tough to play in.

"But France are a team that can turn up on the day and beat anyone. We have to make sure we turn up and perform."

Tipuric said that being so far from home was helping the players avoid being affected by hype, and in maintaining a sense of perspective. 

"You have to try to relax as much as you can before a game. If we were back home in Wales or England, you'd probably hear more. Over here it's a little bit more of a bubble, but at the end of the day it's a game of rugby.

"It's what we started out doing as kids and are still doing. We have to enjoy it and do it on the big stage."

RNS ig/sg/rm/co