Wednesday, 24 April, 2019

Gatland expects improved showing in record-breaking attempt vs England

Wasps Thomas Young is set to make his Wales debut Wasps’ Thomas Young is set to make his Six Nations debut
Cary Erickson | 12 February, 2019, 13:23

That Wales finished with its fewest points and tries in Rome in six years didn't worry Gatland, who was far more satisfied with starting the championship with two wins away from home before returning to Cardiff to face title rival England in two weeks.

"We have made a number of changes but have picked what we think is a very exciting team that still has huge experience throughout it", Wales coach Warren Gatland said in a statement.

There will definitely be no lack of motivation in trying to beat England and break that record.

"We've got a chance, we're at home, the stadium will be full, it'll be some atmosphere at the Principality Stadium".

If this group of players achieve that, it'll be something nobody can take away from them.

Wales equaled its all-time record for consecutive wins after overcoming a plucky Italy 26-15 in Six Nations rugby on Saturday.

"We have probably helped ourselves a little bit by not playing as well as we could have (against Italy), and as a result everyone will start talking about England, talking England up, and sometimes that is easier to help motivate yourself if that does happen".

"We lost a couple of opportunities in the second half, but the team was still fighting and scored a try in the end".

"A lot of people criticise us but you have to give Italy credit", said Gatland.

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"That's probably the best Italian performance I've seen since I've been in charge of Wales". "It should be a tasty one", Davies, captaining the side for the first time on his 70th appearance, told ITV Sport.

Just in case Wales struggle, the reserves feature regular skipper Alun Wyn Jones, No. 8 Ross Moriarty, scrumhalf Gareth Davies, and flyhalf Gareth Anscombe, who all started in the 24-19 win in Paris.

"But it was great to show the depth of the squad and we are looking forward to a big match in two weeks' time".

"We have made a similar number of changes to what we did previous year, but it is all about opportunity for these players". That was the plan all along.

"Look, if I had it over again you might question if it was the right thing to do to make so many changes, but we have done that and got the win".

"We didn't play as well as we would have liked". We can take some things out of that game.

Italy followed their 33-20 loss to Scotland in Murrayfield by extending their losing streak in the competition going back to February 2015.

Italy though strengthened their defence and managed to reduce the arrears to five points before the break with Braam Steyn racing over as he dived from close range for the opening try of the game and Tommaso Allan slotted the conversion as teams ended the first half with a 7-12 scoreline.