Gatland demands success on home soil
July 22, 2013
Wales coach Warren Gatland may be without his captain Sam Warburton for their opening autumn international against South Africa © Getty Images
Wales boss Warren Gatland has urged his players to draw on their recent heroics for the British & Irish Lions and claim another southern hemisphere scalp - this time on home soil.
Fresh from steering the Lions to a series victory over Australia - their first since 1997, Gatland has swiftly turned his attention to Wales' autumn internationals. He returns to the Wales helm for their four-Test end of year campaign having taken a sabbatical to concentrate on his Lions duties that culminated with a series-clinching 41-16 third Test victory over the Wallabies earlier this month.
Gatland called on 10 Welshman for that famous Sydney triumph - and 16 during the tour in total - and he hopes they can use that experience as a springboard to a rare success against southern hemisphere opposition later this year with South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia all scheduled to visit the Millennium Stadium.
"It is another chance for us to lay down a marker and for the returning British and Irish Lions to pick up from where they left off this summer," said Gatland, who looks likely to be without captain Sam Warburton for the opener against the Springboks.
"South Africa, Australia and Argentina will arrive in the UK on top form off the Rugby Championship and they'll look to make a point against us as the Six Nations Champions. We have always thrived on testing ourselves against the best and we will be doing that again in November and it will be ideal preparation going into the Six Nations early next year.
"We have had some big battles in the November Series, against South Africa and Australia particularly in recent times, pushing them close last summer and losing in the final minute in Cardiff last autumn. It will be great for the team to be back at the Millennium Stadium, in front of their home fans and to return to the scene of the Six Nations title victory."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape
Move over, Castro - from falling off a chair to stepping off the team bus, Scrum Sevens recounts some of the strangest rugby injuries ever