Wales rugby: Coach Warren Gatland aims to stay and win World Cup
|Wales Autumn internationals|
|Dates: 11 Nov-2 Dec Venue: Principality Stadium|
|Opponents: Australia, Georgia, New Zealand, South Africa|
|Coverage: Live on BBC One or BBC Two Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.|
Wales coach Warren Gatland says his side can win the 2019 World Cup and insists he remains committed to staying until the tournament in Japan.
Gatland has been in charge for almost 10 years and is preparing for his third World Cup.
After returning from leading the British and Irish and Lions in New Zealand, Gatland has his eyes on the ultimate prize with Wales.
“I need to stress we can win the World Cup,” said Gatland.
The 36-man Wales squad linked up this week to prepare for the opening match against Australia on November 11 followed by Tests against Georgia, South Africa and New Zealand.
“I am very excited and committed to Wales and I need to reiterate that,” said Gatland.
“There was speculation six months ago I would do the Lions and not come back to Wales and I was asked numerous times.
“We spoke last week about the countdown of the next two years.
“You are away for 12 months and concentrating on the Lions and the whole focus is now on winning the World Cup.
“We know we need to stay healthy and not pick up too many injuries.
“What is exciting about this group of players is their age profile and experience and we should be able to go in with a fantastic balance.
“Apart from New Zealand, traditionally World Cups are won by teams in their late 20s and early 30s which we should have.”
‘Not here too long’
Gatland confirmed he will be paid a loyalty bonus if he stays until his current contract expires in 2019.
But the New Zealander, who will have been in charge for 12 years by then, insists that is not the reason he is staying with Wales.
“One of the things I have tried to pride myself on is giving an opinion and being honest, maybe that is to my detriment,” said Gatland.
“I was asked whether having been in charge for 10 years or 12, as it will be at the World Cup, was it too long and I said possibly. It does not take away the excitement of doing the job.
“Sometimes people trawl through interviews and look at one line and try and make headlines and that is what happened at the weekend.
“In terms of the loyalty bonus, the previous chief executive was smart in the way he contracted me.
“It’s not the motivation for being here. Whether I should have mentioned it, I am not sure but it’s not the motivation for me staying.”
Wales will prepare for the Australia match by holding a forwards session behind closed doors against England in Bristol on Monday, 6 November.
“Given our proximity it is a good idea and should be both for good teams,” said Gatland.
“It will be well managed. We will do some line-outs and won’t do any mauling.
“We will do some scrummaging session and make sure it is controlled. Both sets of forwards want to get as much out of as they can.
“It gives us a good feel of where we are at and hopefully preparation for the Australia games.
“It is something we could look at for the future if we can both benefit out of it and we will see how Monday goes.”
Scarlets props Rob Evans and Samson Lee are coming back into training and Gatland is hoping Ospreys duo Rhys Webb and Justin Tipuric will return to training next week after recovering from thigh and knee injuries.
The major concern for the Australia match is Dragons centre Tyler Morgan who suffered an ankle injury in the 28-14 defeat by the Ospreys.