Gatland begins England mind games

Date published: January 21 2015

Wales head coach Warren Gatland hopes that England “accept the challenge” of playing under a closed roof at the Millennium Stadium.

Hinting that the occasion got to England’s players when Wales thrashed their old rivals 30-3 two years ago, Gatland believes the England management may try to tune out the atmosphere by opting to leave the roof open.

“I am interested to see if they (England) have the roof open or closed, because the atmosphere was pretty electric last time (the roof was closed),” said Gatland.

“They may try to dampen that down. I hope they do want to close it and are prepared to accept the challenge, but we will wait and see.”

Gatland additionally dismissed the notion that the result on February 6 would have a major bearing on this year’s Rugby World Cup, when England and Wales will face each other in Pool A.

“I don’t think it is going to have a reflection on that World Cup result,” added Gatland.

“The team that wins it will probably go in thinking they are on the right path, and it sometimes gives the team that loses the opportunity to change direction and work on a few other things.

“If you look back at the last two World Cups, the team that won the Tri-Nations didn’t win the World Cup.

“It’s more of a confidence boost and good for the fans, but for us it’s about the bigger picture.