Wales happy to be written off

Date published: September 15 2015

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has called on the media to keep writing off his side before the World Cup starts. 

Many are predicting that Wales will miss out in Pool A, which also contains hosts England and Rugby Championship winners Australia.

"If you can do your jobs and write us off as much as possible, that would be great," Gatland told the media on Tuesday.

"If we can come into the competition being written off, which seems to be happening at the moment, that's the best situation for a Wales team to be in. Sometimes those things galvanise us and makes us stronger as a unit. So, please continue to do it."

Gatland added that there were a number of contenders who could win this year's tournament, making it the tightest to call in history.

"I believe this is going to be the closest ever World Cup. There are a number of teams who need a bit of luck to get through the pool stages, but everyone has an opportunity.

"We did that in 2011. We got through the pool stages and quarter-final and everyone knows how close we came to reaching the final.

"I think there are seven or eight teams who will fancy themselves if they get through to the quarter-finals.

"Just look back to the autumn. It was the best the northern hemisphere had done against the southern hemisphere nations for a number of years. And again towards the end of the Six Nations, we saw some expansive rugby played by four or five of those teams in the championship.

"That was a real positive and hopefully the weather will stay pretty good and we will see some hard grounds and some pretty good rugby."

Gatland moved to recall veteran scrum-half Mike Phillips after Rhys Webb was ruled out of injury and he spoke highly of Phillips since his return to the camp.

"Mike Phillips has been fantastic. The way he conducted himself after he was left out was fantastic. He's come back in and kept his head down. We know what a great competitor he is and his experience will be great for the squad.

"Having his confidence and self-belief in the squad will be positive in terms of the other players too.

"We were happy with our initial selection, but Mike coming in gives us that experience and a different type of game if we want to go to that."