IN what has been a tough World Cup for a depleted Wales side, with heavy defeats against Papua New Guinea and Fiji, one of the flecks of silver in the dark cloud has been the form of Saints packman Morgan Knowles.

The Young Player of the Year nominee has impressed in a beaten pack and pleased with his own displays, which included scoring a try the day before his 21st against Fiji.

His form has been so impressive that Welsh coach John Kear said it had been a wise move by Saints to tie him down to a four-year deal before he stepped on to this world stage.

Knowles' focus at the moment is finishing with a flourish. He is determined that Wales – who he qualifies for due to his Rhondda-born mother – can finish the tournament with their heads up with the clash with Ireland.

Knowles said: "I'm pretty pleased with how I've gone but it's been disappointing with the results.

"All the boys are disappointed and embarrassed to a point.

"We've had a look at the video. A few things have been said and they needed to be said. But team spirit has stayed strong and we've had a good week in training.

"It was always going to be tough and we've been on the wrong side of some heavy defeats. But we're playing Ireland, a northern hemisphere team, and we'll be looking to put everything into that last game to try and get a result and finish the tournament on a high."

Knowles’ form did not go unnoticed, and despite being on the end of a 72-6 mullering Fiji stand-off Jarryd Hayne sought him out especially after the game to swap shirts.

Welsh coach John Kear believes Saints did a good bit of business in extending Knowles contract ahead of the tournament as he was the name on a few lips afterwards.

"Saints are very intelligent signing him for four years before he came here because, to a man, every one of the Fijian players mentioned Morgan Knowles," Kear said.

"He's been absolutely fantastic. For a lad who's just turned 21, his two performances have been monumental."

Knowles is looking forward to going up against two of his Saints pack colleagues, Kyle Amor and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, as well as a former team-mate Shannon McDonnell.

"I used to live with Shannon," Knowles said. "I keep in touch with him and, of course, I see Kyle and Louie every day.

"I know them inside out really, training with them every day and playing with them week in, week out, so it will be a strange one playing against them but I'm really looking forward to it."