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Wales are not ready to exit the World Cup says Warren Gatland

Published 15/10/2015

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named his team for Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against South Africa at Twickenham
Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named his team for Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against South Africa at Twickenham

Warren Gatland insists Wales are "not ready to go home" as they seek the fulfilment denied them at the last World Cup.

The injury-ravaged Welsh are targeting only their third victory over South Africa when they face Heyneke Meyer's revived southern hemisphere giants in Saturday's opening quarter-final at Twickenham.

They arrive in the knock-out phase battle-hardened by intense Pool A showdowns with England, Fiji and Australia, losing only to the Wallabies in a thunderous collision last weekend.

Four years ago Wales were edged 9-8 by France in the semi-finals, a match that saw captain Sam Warburton controversially sent off for a spear tackle, and Gatland insists there is unfinished business in the World Cup.

"Coming out of our pool was tough and to beat South Africa to reach the semi-finals would be an awesome achievement," the head coach said.

"And the beauty of that is that we'd be here until the end of the tournament as well.

"We're not ready to go home on Sunday. The players aren't ready to go home.

"We came back from New Zealand in 2011 feeling a little unfulfilled in that we had done something reasonably special but hadn't reached the final with that sending off of Sam.

"We feel at the moment we're in a good place mentally and have played some pretty good rugby while competing with some of the best teams.

"We just need the bounce of the ball and a little of luck against South Africa. If a couple of decisions go your way then you have chance of winning

"We'll be in the away dressing room and I don't think anyone's won in home dressing room. Hopefully that's an omen - I'm grabbing anything I can!"

The Springboks, who enter the last eight as clear favourites, will be wary after Gatland revealed that Wales will have a surprise in store at Twickenham.

"What we learned from 2011 is that during this tournament you have to be prepared to throw something different in," Gatland said.

"We did that against Ireland in 2011 and changed the way we wanted to play. You have to be prepared to do something different.

"One or two subtle changes can catch a team. We've done a couple of things this week that hopefully South Africa haven't seen.

"At this level it's about taking some risks. If look at some of decisions the best players in the world make, it's about high-risk, high-reward.

"There's nothing wrong with learning from other players in the future. The best players in the world look at percentages and risk and often make the right decision.

"That's what we've talked about with players this week. Hopefully they'll make the right decision under pressure."

Gatland has absolute faith in English referee Wayne Barnes, who he insists has rediscovered his "mojo".

"We were interested in the refereeing appointments. I think Wayne is refereeing the best he has for a long time," Gatland said.

"He's doing well and has his mojo back. In the past, he was refereeing to the assessors and that can sometimes put you off the ability to make your own decisions."

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