Regions need Wales mindset - Dafydd James

Warren Gatland and Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins
Warren Gatland (L) has led Wales to three Six Nations titles in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Former Wales and British Lions star Dafydd James has urged Wales' regions to adopt the mindset of Warren Gatland's national squad.

Ospreys are unbeaten in the Pro12, but Cardiff Blues, Scarlets and Dragons have won only four games from the 15 they have played.

James told BBC Radio Wales Sport the regions "have some good players".

"What I find interesting... is when they come to play for Wales, it's a totally different mindset," he added.

James also said Wales coach Gatland was "blessed" with a strong pool of scrum-half talent while Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar had been a "revelation" this season.

Describing the Wales camp under Gatland, James said it was: "A very dynamic, professional environment.

"...It should be in the clubs also, I hasten to add.

"However, it doesn't appear to be. It seems a total different mindset."

Ex-Wales wing Dafydd James
"Let's put a positive tint on this - I think he's [Wales coach Warren Gatland] been blessed with the scrum-halves, he's got the choices."

Under Gatland, Wales have won three Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams.

They also finished fourth at the 2011 World Cup and Gatland guided the British and Irish Lions to a 2-1 Test series win over Australia in 2013.

However, Wales' New Zealander coach has seen his side win only once against a major southern hemisphere team - against Australia in November 2008.

Even so, James, a 2001 Lions Test player under Graham Henry, who also coached Wales, believes the nation's regions should look to Gatland's methods.

"It's about pulling your socks up, basically, and performing on the international level," said James.

Ospreys half-backs Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar
Ospreys half-backs Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar have impressed Dafydd James this season

Ex-Scarlets and Blues back James claimed New Zealander Gatland encouraged players to mentally rehearse matches as soon as the Wales squad assembled.

"[Gatland] brings in that high intensity, the mental approach where they're playing the game prior to going's a bit of psychology really."

And James said Gatland had plenty of options this season at nine and 10.

"Let's put a positive tint on this - I think he's been blessed with the scrum-halves, he's got the choices.

"Rhys Webb [Ospreys] has been playing exceptionally well, Gareth Davies [Scarlets, also] and then you've obviously got Mike Phillips who's down in Racing [Metro].

"So he's got a choice of three scrum-halves, potentially possibly another one."

James says Gatland is also spoilt for choice with potential half-back partners for those scrum-halves.

"Dan Biggar's been a revelation. He's been sensational pairing up with Rhys Webb," said James.

"Then you've got obviously the likes of [Rhys] Patchell, who I know the Blues have moved to full-back.

"And then you've got [Gareth] Anscombe coming in [from New Zealand to Blues]. I don't agree to fast-track him in. He needs to earn his stripes.

"You look at that and some of the young props coming in, Rhodri Jones down at Scarlets, as well, playing exceptionally well.

"There are some good players there; some very good players around."

Top Stories