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Gatland poised for World Cup cull

Published 08/08/2015

Warren Gatland is poised to trim Wales' World Cup training squad
Warren Gatland is poised to trim Wales' World Cup training squad

Warren Gatland will end the World Cup hopes of as many as 10 Wales stars next week.

Gatland remained unfazed by his side's lacklustre showing in a 35-21 defeat to Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday, already looking ahead to next week's three-day training camp in north Wales.

The Wales head coach branded flanker Ross Moriarty "unlucky" to receive a yellow card for a crude swinging-arm challenge on Ireland wing Simon Zebo.

Gloucester flanker Moriarty could face a citing, but Gatland felt the 21-year-old has already been hard done by.

"We go to north Wales on Monday and we'll probably reduce it to 36 or 38, around about those sorts of numbers, towards the end of next week," said Gatland of his selection plans.

"There's going to be no ferocious match, it will be a controlled situation with two teams, we've got a referee coming in there and we'll look at some different scenarios in there.

"So it definitely won't be a match, it's a training session where we'll put some field scenarios in and give both those sets of teams an opportunity.

"It's not some sort of trial match.

"I thought the yellow card was a little unlucky for Ross (Moriarty), he got it for a swinging arm, but both arms go at the same time and when you make a tackle you've got to bring your arms round.

"The player has come down low, he's gone to hit him quite high, I think both arms went as well, so I thought it was a bit unlucky.

"I thought he played pretty well, got into the game and made some good carries in that second half and showed some good footwork as well."

Wales will open their Pool A battle in the World Cup by facing Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday, September 20.

Gatland must submit his final 31-man squad on August 31, and on the evidence of Saturday's defeat the likes of fly-half James Hook could now be skating close to missing the cut.

"It will have a huge amount of relevance won't it?" said Gatland on the importance of defeat to Ireland on squad selection.

"This was an opportunity for a lot of players to go out there and perform so it will definitely have relevance.

"It was always the plan to give everyone a good run-out: you want to give players an opportunity.

"Scott (Williams) had a bit of a tight calf so we had to reshuffle the backline a bit, and it was always the intention to give everyone half an hour.

"I thought the two half-backs who came on did very well, Gareth Anscombe played nice and flat, took the ball to the line, and Lloyd was pretty good.

"Some of our presentation to him wasn't brilliant, it was a little frustrating at the breakdown; we need to be stronger at the breakdown.

"I thought Toby Faletau was outstanding when he came on.

"The front-rowers did well and we saw a bit of spark from Matthew Morgan as well, that we've been looking for.

"It's not so easy to come off the bench and make an impact but they definitely did that.

"I was disappointed with the way we played in that first half, we scored a couple of nice tries in the end but you commit that many turnovers against a side like Ireland.

"We gifted them quite a lot of soft points really."

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