South Africa v Wales: Warren Gatland wants Welsh ‘mental toughness’

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So an inexperienced Wales team taking on a South Africa side that might also be missing a few players, but will still have 10 World Cup winners in their match-day squad.

“It is part of the challenge,” said Gatland.

“If you start doubting yourself you have to be able to overcome those sorts of challenges.

“Test match rugby is tough and physical, you have got to be able to handle adversity.

“It is probably not the politically correct thing at the moment in today’s society, but you have to be mentally tough.

“You have to go through that pain sometimes and be able to come out the other side.

“There is nothing wrong with that. You have to be brave and overcome your fear factor.

“You are going out there and playing against big men, it’s going to hurt and you have to go through some pain.

“There are going to be lots of different emotions and things to challenge yourself on, get through that and come out the other side.”

Gatland believes some young Wales players have already benefitted from being exposed on the international stage.

“We have some individuals in the side who love that challenge and thrive on it like Dewi Lake and Dafydd Jenkins,” said Gatland.

“They won’t walk away from a challenge, they run towards it and see it as something they thrive on in terms of meeting it head on.”

Gatland has spoken about Wales gaining some respect and hopes they can achieve that against the Springboks this weekend.

“We are not very experienced in terms of the number of caps and guys on the bench,” said Gatland.

“There’s a great opportunity for this team to go out and perform after we’ve been training and working hard.”


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