Gatland slams ‘bitter’ critics ahead of Wales-Springboks clash

Wales coach Warren Gatland speaks to the press during the 6 Nations Launch event in west London on January 24, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS

WASHINGTON- Wales Coach Warren Gatland has slammed critics of Wales clash against the Springboks as “bitter and twisted”, as the two teams prepare to clash in Washington DC on Saturday.

The game takes place outside the World Rugby’s designated Test window. Wales will be facing Argentina in a two match tour after Saturday’s game, while the South Africans will face England in a three match tests at home.

Those who have opposed the match say the game is just a money grabbing exercise, with even former Waled captain Gwyn Jones calling it a, “shambles which “devalues international rugby”.

Both national sides have picked youthful teams for the game but Gatland sees the game as a much needed 80 minutes for his teams preparation for the world cup next year.

He said, “If anyone has come out and criticised this match, they’re completely ill-informed in terms of how important it is for the long term,” he said.

“I think you would have to be someone with a chip on your shoulder or be pretty bitter and twisted to criticise this match because I see it as absolutely vital in terms of our long-term planning for 2019.

“It’s about creating depth and replicating conditions that are going to be very much the same in Japan. Playing in a different situation, a different culture, travelling, and putting ourselves out of our comfort zone all make for a really important stepping stone for us.”

Photo Credit- AFP

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