Gatland wants southern scalp

Date published: October 23 2013

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is eager to see his side step up and get the better of the southern hemisphere giants this November.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is eager to see his side step up and get the better of the southern hemisphere giants when they clash in November.

Gatland has overseen three Six Nations titles, two Grand Slams and a Rugby World Cup semi-final appearance since taking charge back in 2008.

But the country's record in that same period against the southern hemisphere giants of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia has been disappointing, with just one win – against Australia in 2008 – compared to 20 defeats.

Wales have a chance to improve on that dismal tally against the teams that, realistically, they need to beat if they are to have a chance of winning the 2015 World Cup, when the Springboks and the Wallabies come to Cardiff next month.

“At times, we probably haven't performed as well as we would have liked against some of the southern hemisphere teams. That is about the development of the side,” Gatland said after announcing his squad on Tuesday.

“Hopefully, there is enough experience now so that we can make an impact against the southern hemisphere sides over the next couple of years. That's a task.

“But there is also a little bit of room for development because the biggest tournament for us is the Six Nations,” the New Zealander added.

“The last thing I want is to win the four games in the autumn and then to go and finish fourth or fifth in the Six Nations,” insisted Gatland, whose side lost all four of their corresponding November matches last year before taking the Six Nations title.

“We have to go in with that belief and confidence,” Gatland said.

“It is not a matter of hoping you play well on the day and catch them on a bad day. We know if we go in and play well, we are good enough to win.

“If the players can stay fit, keep their form and with some youngsters coming in to put some pressure on, I think we are in a great position at the moment and we believe we can achieve something special for Welsh rugby.

“We think we have achieved a lot in the last few years and gone through some pretty good times. We think we can do better in the next few years as well.”

Gatland, who coached the British and Irish Lions to a 2-1 series win in Australia earlier this year, said he'd no hesitation in re-appointing Sam Warburton, his Lions skipper, as Wales captain.

“Sam acquitted himself very well on the Lions tour,” Gatland said.

“He was absolutely outstanding in the second Test before he picked up his (hamstring) injury (Wales team-mate Alun Wyn Jones captained the Lions to victory in the decisive third Test against the Wallabies).

“When we selected the squad, we didn't even talk about the captain. For all of us, it was just a given that he (Warburton) was going to captain the squad.”