Thursday 19 September 2019

Gatland: We must be rugby-ready

Warren Gatland. Photo: Sportsfile
Warren Gatland. Photo: Sportsfile

Warren Gatland says it is important that Wales are "rugby-ready" as they move towards their World Cup opener against Georgia.

Wales complete a busy tournament warm-up schedule by tackling Ireland in Dublin tomorrow.

And head coach Gatland will parade many of his big names, including five Lions.

There are eight survivors from the starting XV that secured the Six Nations title and Grand Slam success just over five months ago.

And 15 changes following last weekend's home defeat against Ireland, including a start for Scarlets fly-half Rhys Patchell.

Patchell apart, the team features captain Alun Wyn Jones, wing George North, centre Jonathan Davies and flanker Justin Tipuric.

There are also opportunities in Dublin, meanwhile, for scrum-half Tomos Williams, prop Wyn Jones and hooker Elliot Dee.

"This is our final preparation match, so it is important we get enough rugby into us and get rugby-ready ahead of our opener, which is just over two weeks away," Gatland said.

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"It is important we hit the ground running in Japan and we give the players enough time on the field.

"Saturday is the first time these players would have taken to the field as members of the RWC squad.

"It is a big opportunity for players to secure spots for the starting XV in Japan."

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