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Wales boss Gatland demanding more ‘ruthlessness’

Warren Gatland has demanded an 80-minute show of “ruthlessness and concentration” when Wales pursue a prized and all too rare Tri Nations scalp today.

World champions South Africa, led by their imperious second-row forward Victor Matfield, will arrive at the Millennium Stadium as firm favourites to strike another knockout blow for the southern hemisphere heavyweights at Wales' expense.

The Springboks have reeled off 11 successive victories against their Cardiff hosts, while it's 23 wins on the bounce for New Zealand and 14 wins out of the last 17 Tests from an Australian perspective.

Gatland’s record with Wales against the big three is not good — played 11, lost 10 — and another loss today would allow the harbingers of doom a field day just two weeks before the All Blacks roll into town.

“In football terms, we are going out every week and having a crack against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal,” said head coach Gatland.

“It's frustrating for me because we start well and then there is a drop of tempo, or we start poorly and then pick it up.

“You have to be on the ball for 80 minutes, and we do tend to occasionally switch off. We have to maintain ruthlessness and concentration for 80 minutes.”

Gatland will hand 18-year-old 6ft 4in, 16st 7lb wing George North a Test debut.

With Lee Byrne available again after injury at full-back and James Hook's rich attacking prowess utilised in midfield, there is a more threatening feel to Wales than for last weekend's 25-16 loss against Australia.

Belfast Telegraph


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