Warren Gatland: Wales ahead of schedule for Rugby World Cup

Wales head coach happy with progress ahead of next season's Rugby World Cup and admits he is under pressure

By Gareth Llewellyn

Warren Gatland insists Wales are ahead of schedule as they prepare for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The Wales head coach is focusing on the positives from this month’s Dove Men Series despite defeats against Australia and New Zealand extending their dismal run against the southern hemisphere big three to just one win in 27 matches since the Kiwi took charge in 2007.

Next year’s Rugby World Cup sees Wales line up in a pool that also features rivals England and Australia, as well as Fiji and Uruguay, and Gatlant admits that is the big test.

“Where we are going to be judged on is our performance in the World Cup,” Gatland said.

“Our whole focus in on making sure we get out of that pool at the World Cup.

“I think we are ahead of schedule. I’m pretty happy with the way we’ve progressed in this campaign.”

I think we are ahead of schedule. I’m pretty happy with the way we’ve progressed in this campaign.

Warren Gatland

Gatland also admits he is under pressure over his southern hemisphere record, but chose to play down external factors after the fallout from a post-match interview with the BBC last weekend at the of the 34-16 defeat to the All Blacks dominated this week’s media activity ahead of Saturday’s clash with South Africa.

“You are always under pressure in sport,” he added.

“As a group, it’s more about the pressure you put on yourselves as much as anything, rather than the external pressure.

“For us, it’s about using the autumn to play against the best teams in the world to prepare for the Six Nations and for the World Cup.”

The Kiwi believes that he has nothing to hide when it comes to handling questions from the media, despite the exception taken from the Welsh Rugby Union and defence coach Shaun Edwards earlier this week.

“There wasn’t any complaint made to the BBC,” he said.

“What was said afterwards was that given that was an unbelievable Test match and we pushed the All Blacks for 69 minutes and played some great rugby and were very proud of the way we performed and played I suppose — and it’s nothing that I’d said — people within our camp felt that was an unfair question.

“I’ve never minded asking hard questions. Sometimes you get dumb questions, but hard questions are something I’ve never worried about.

“I pride myself on always telling the truth and giving an opinion.”

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