herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Warren Gatland warns players: Switch off and I'll drop you

Wales boss Warren Gatland
Wales boss Warren Gatland

Wales boss Warren Gatland has revealed that he gave his players a verbal rocket yesterday – and a clear warning about their places in the team.

Wales return to Rugby World Cup action against Fiji tomorrow, just five days after the emotional high of beating host nation England at Twickenham.

And with such a short turnaround, Gatland knows the mental approach and attitude must be spot-on if Wales are to remain unbeaten in Pool A and stay on a clear quarter-final course.

“They got a bit of a rocket this morning, in terms of we named the team and I said to them about this morning (training) being a bit lighter,” Gatland said. “But we would look at the GPS numbers and the intensity (in training) this afternoon - not a long training session, about 40 minutes - and I just said that if I see any body language or anything that’s not right, I will change you tomorrow.

“It’s not physically, it’s mentally making sure they are right. Sometimes, the challenge is not the physical challenge, but that mental challenge.

“You have got to be right, and that’s our job as coaches to make sure that hopefully we get them mentally right for what is going to be a big challenge.”

Asked about Gatland’s ability to surprise, Wales flanker Dan Lydiate, who will win his 50th cap tomorrow, added: “When it comes to selection, even coming in this morning, everyone is like ‘what is he going to do? Is he going to mix it up? Is he going to keep it the same?’ Everyone is on their toes, every selection, and that is the best way to be.

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