Wales: Warren Gatland insists ‘anything is possible’ ahead of Six Nations opener against Ireland

Adam Kyriacou
Wales coach Warren Gatland with captain Ken Owens ahead of 2023 Six Nations.

Warren Gatland has revealed he will do “whatever it takes” to get Wales back to the top of the international game as this year’s Six Nations looms large.

The coach replaced the outgoing Wayne Pivac after a disappointing 2022 that included home defeats to Italy and Georgia, the latter sealing Pivac’s fate.

It was then a surprising return to the hot-seat for Gatland, who had been in New Zealand with the Chiefs, but he is relishing a new challenge with Wales.

Four Six Nations titles already in the bank

During his first tenure, Wales won four Six Nations, three Grand Slams, reached two World Cup semis and were briefly the world’s number-one team.

However, the team has since dropped to ninth in the World Rugby rankings after a poor run of results, with their passionate fans longing for a response.

They start the Six Nations at home to an in-form Ireland, and Gatland is excited by the challenge this year, especially with the World Cup on the horizon.

“There is a bigger picture to look at, but the Six Nations is never a free shot,” he said.

“It is important, and it has always been important for us. For us, the Six Nations is when points are at stake.

“Sometimes, the autumn is the free shot. You don’t get a free shot in the Six Nations. It’s a competition you want to win.

“Ireland at home is tough, but it’s a great game for us and is something we can look forward to.

“It (winning the Six Nations) wasn’t believable 15 years ago, so anything is possible.

“I am incredibly competitive, and I will do whatever it takes to get this team to a position where they can compete with the best sides in the world.

“That will take some time, but I can guarantee we will work extremely hard. I am positive we will compete extremely well in the Six Nations.”

Ken Owens his new skipper in Six Nations

Gatland can still call on several of his former charges in Dan Biggar, Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric and new captain Ken Owens.

However, there is also a sprinkling of youth in the squad named for their Six Nations opener as four uncapped players are included – centres Mason Grady and Keiran Williams, plus locks Rhys Davies and Teddy Williams – with Wales’ next crop coming through.

“I think the challenge is balancing the older players who have been part of the squad with the younger players,” Gatland added.

“How many changes do you make? We need to give the youngsters opportunities leading into the World Cup. It is a balancing act.

“I think that is reflected in the squad. There are experienced players that we want to be a part of it, but there are a lot of players who haven’t got many caps behind their name who need more experience.

“It is important that we do well in the Six Nations, but we have to think about the next 10 months as well.”

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