Warren Gatland: Friendlies could influence World Cup selection

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland has guided Wales in 67 Test matches - more than any other coach

Wales coach Warren Gatland says the World Cup warm-up matches against Ireland in August could influence his squad for the tournament.

Gatland's men face the Six Nations champions in Cardiff on 8 August and again in Dublin 21 days later.

The final squad for the World Cup is expected to be named on 31 August.

"It's a chance for some players in the squad to stake a claim in terms of selection so there'll be a little bit of experimentation," said Gatland.

"That's particularly true for the two games against Ireland.

"There'll be a little bit of a different focus on the Italian game at home because the World Cup squad would have been selected."

Wales face Italy in Cardiff on 5 September, and kick off their World Cup campaign against Uruguay on Sunday, 20 September.

England, Australia and Fiji are the other teams in Pool A with Wales.

Before playing any matches this summer, Wales have training camps in Switzerland and Qatar in July, and will spend a week in Poland in the time between the two matches against Ireland.

"I can promise you that when we turn up for those warm-up games we will be in good shape physically," added Gatland, who was in Cardiff on the day tickets went on sale for the home friendlies against Ireland and Italy.

"Playing the Six Nations champions should be fantastic here at home to start off with."

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