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New Zealander Warren Gatland highly praised ahead of his 100th Test

By Robert Jones

Ryan Jones believes Wales have "changed beyond all recognition" under the coaching direction of New Zealander Warren Gatland.

Gatland will take charge of his 100th career Test match on Friday night when Wales continue their autumn series by hosting Tonga at the Millennium Stadium.

It will be Gatland's 59th game at the helm of Wales, while he also coached Ireland in 38 Tests and masterminded the British and Irish Lions' 2-1 series triumph against Australia earlier this year.

His Wales reign is highlighted by three RBS 6 Nations titles, two Grand Slams and a 2011 World Cup semi-final appearance.

"His record speaks for itself," said Ospreys back-row forward Jones, who captains a Wales team showing 11 changes from last Saturday's record 40-6 win against Argentina, including the addition of a new cap in Newport Gwent Dragons wing Hallam Amos.

"The difference in the environment, the difference in the results – we've changed beyond all recognition from before.

"Warren has done that and he's been incredibly successful. We are judged on results in professional sport and under Warren we have won trophies. It's been a great few years."

Wales team to play Tonga at the Millennium Stadium on Friday: L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); G North (Scarlets), O Williams (Cardiff Blues), A Beck (Ospreys), H Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons); J Hook (Perpignan), L Williams (Cardiff Blues); P James (Bath), K Owens (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), L Charteris (Perpignan), I Evans (Ospreys), A Coombs (Newport Gwent Dragons), J Tipuric (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt).

Replacements: E Phillips (Scarlets), R Bevington (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), D Lydiate (Racing Metro), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), R Williams (Scarlets), R Priestland (Scarlets), J Williams (Scarlets).

Belfast Telegraph


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