Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Gatland believes in Rees

Matthew Rees

New Wales captain Matthew Rees has seen his leadership credentials receive a ringing endorsment as he prepares for Saturday's Millennium Stadium clash against Australia.

Scarlets hooker Rees will take over as skipper from an injured Ryan Jones, making him Wales' 129th international captain. And Wales coach Warren Gatland believes 29-year-old Rees is ready to meet the challenge head-on.

"I think Matthew is the one player in the Welsh squad who has developed most over the last two years, not just as a rugby player but a leader," said Gatland.

"In 2008, he was number two (Wales) hooker behind Huw Bennett, and a good second as well.

"But since then he's worked incredibly hard physically and has made big improvements there.

"Being selected for the Lions in 2009 gave him some confidence and self-belief.

"He's done a great job for the Scarlets this year in leading them and leading by example, and really that's what he is going to do for us.

"He is a player who puts his body on the line and leads by example, but he also has the confidence and self-belief in his own abilities to do that.

"It's been fantastic to see that progression from a player that probably didn't have that self-belief and confidence to one who now really does believe in his ability and now sees himself as a world-class player."

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