Wales boss hopes to improve record against southern hemisphere sides
Last Updated: October 22, 2013 5:27pm
Warren Gatland: Wants more improvement from Wales
Warren Gatland has urged Wales to prove themselves against southern hemisphere sides after a dominant spell in Europe.
Gatland's men retained the Six Nations crown this year, but they have a dismal record against South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Wales have claimed just one win from 21 starts against the trio during Gatland's reign and he is hoping for improvement in autumn encounters with the Springboks and the Wallabies.
"At times, we probably haven't performed as well as we would have liked against some of the southern hemisphere teams," he said. "That is about the development of the side.
"Hopefully, there is enough experience now so that we can make an impact against the southern hemisphere sides over the next couple of years. That's a task.
"Hopefully, there is enough experience now so that we can make an impact against the southern hemisphere sides over the next couple of years. That's a task."
"But there is also a little bit of room for development because the biggest tournament for us is the Six Nations. The last thing I want is to win the four games in the autumn and then to go and finish fourth or fifth in the Six Nations."
Gatland named three uncapped players in a 35-man squad for Tests against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia next month.
Ospreys wing Eli Walker, Cardiff Blues centre Cory Allen and Scarlets scrum-half Rhodri Williams were all included, but injured backs Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert are missing.
Racing Metro centre Roberts and Blues wing Cuthbert are recovering from ankle problems, while hooker Matthew Rees is also absent as he must undergo testicular surgery.
"It is a tough time for Matthew. He has our full support, and fingers crossed things will work out in the best possible way for him," said Gatland.
"With Jamie, there is speculation that he might be available for the last game (against Australia). Alex has had some scans. He needs some more scans and then we can make a final decision on him.
"It looks like a bit of ligament has been pulled away, but I am not medically qualified to know how long he is going to be out for."
Cardiff Blues backs Rhys Patchell and Owen Williams were also called up with Scarlets hooker Emyr Phillips after making their Wales debuts on this summer's tour to Japan.
Perpignan back James Hook returns with club teammate Luke Charteris, while Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland is also recalled to a squad captained by 2013 Lions skipper Sam Warburton.
"Sam acquitted himself very well on the Lions tour," Gatland said.
"He was absolutely outstanding in the second Test before he picked up his (hamstring) injury.
"When we selected the squad, we didn't even talk about the captain. For all of us, it was just a given that he (Warburton) was going to captain the squad."