Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Gatland looks for "big win"

Warren Gatland

Wales coach Warren Gatland has described his side's autumn Test schedule as a "tipping point" in their development ahead of next year's World Cup in New Zealand.

Wales face Australia, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium next month looking to improve on a poor record against the three southern hemisphere giants that has seen them win just two of their last 31 contests against them, those successes coming against the Wallabies in 2005 and 2008.

He told a WRU newsletter promoting ticket sales for the four Cardiff Tests: "We have reached a tipping point in the development of this side and a full house against the Wallabies for that first game in November could be the thing to take us to that next step and kick-start our international season in the most important of years for Welsh rugby."

And Gatland believes that victory over one of the 'big three' could mark the start of a successful period for the national side, who begin their World Cup campaign against defending champions South Africa in Wellington on September 11 next year.

The Kiwi added: "Once we beat one of these big sides the floodgates will open and we really feel we are on the cusp of having a very special Wales team on our hands

"With both South Africa and Fiji in our World Cup pool next year and New Zealand and Australia leading the rugby world at the moment these matches are also vital potential scalps for us.

"We need a big win."

The former Connacht, Waikato and Wasps boss also offered his players the incentive that a win against the Wallabies, Springboks and All Blacks would put the men involved in pole position for that clash with the world champions next autumn.

"The Wales side on display against the Wallabies on Saturday November 6, if it wins, should closely resemble the side which carries the expectations of a nation on its shoulders in that first RWC outing agains the Boks in less than a year and the same can be said for the Springboks and All Blacks matches," he continued.

"We have got time before the World Cup, but not much time, and we want to see performances this November which show we are going in the right direction."

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