Warren Gatland: Wales coach says Wales and Scotland will be 'proper' Test

Warren Gatland's first match in charge of Wales was against England in February 2008
Warren Gatland's first match in charge of Wales was against England in February 2008
Under Armour Series: Wales v Scotland
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 3 November Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app.

Warren Gatland says Wales will not be playing festival rugby against Scotland at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

Gatland will be in charge after a tough week following the death of his father.

The match is being held outside of World Rugby's international window with neither side having access to the players outside of Scotland and Wales.

"It will be a proper Test on Saturday," said Gatland.

"I can guarantee that. We are not going out there to play festival rugby. We want to play attractive rugby but smart and winning rugby.

"It is going to be tough, physical encounter."

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend says his side are still smarting from the 34-7 Six Nations defeat they suffered against Wales in February.

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny on his way to scoring Wales' second try against Scotland in February 2018

"Hearing the stuff that's coming out of their camp they are talking about the fact that they got their preparation wrong from the last game," said Gatland.

"It wasn't about a good Wales performance it was about how poorly they had prepared.

"So, that kind of puts things in perspective for us to make sure we are mentally on our game. We have to bring the right sort of physicality for a Test match against a tier one nation.

"They probably started throwing the ball around more than they would have done.

"I would presume the message from Gregor Townsend will be to stay in the arm wrestle as long as they can with us, pressurise us and look to take the opportunities.

"That's why I'm expecting the game to be so physical. The players who were involved last year will be disappointed with the result and performance and will be wanting to rectify that."

As well as giving each side preparation time for the Six Nations, the teams are also playing for the inaugural Doddie Weir Cup, created in honour of the former Scotland lock now suffering from motor neurone disease.

Test rookie Adam Hastings starts at 10 for Scotland with Gatland promising to test the Glasgow half-back.

"He has had some international experience but there will be some pressure on him to play in Cardiff. We have got to make sure we put as much pressure on him as we possibly can.

"If a player is playing up at the next level of physicality and intensity that is what we need to bring to make it difficult for him.

"No doubt he is a quality player with a pretty good pedigree. I am sure he has had plenty of advice about handling the pressure."

Adam Hastings trains with Scotland
Adam Hastings will win his fourth Scotland cap in Wales on Saturday

Gatland arrived back in Wales on Wednesday after returning to New Zealand for the funeral of his father.

Rob Howley has been in temporary charge but Gatland has been in contact with his coaching staff.

"I have been talking to both Robs (Howley and McBryde) over the last week," said Gatland.

"We have been in communication, I have been getting the daily sheets every day and the GPS numbers have been sent through to me and stuff.

"Rob Howley rung me on Sunday and we had a good conversation, we have been texting and emailing each other and talked about the side.

"Rob wanted to name the team to the players, so he named that on Monday so they knew early on in the week what the side was.

"It was a tough week for myself, sometimes, you turn that into a positive, having to sort of adapt to a bit of adversity, getting thrown in at the deep end in a situation they weren't expecting.

"If we can handle that and be prepared, that makes it easier for when things happen in the future, things that you don't expect don't throw you.

"We have prepared well and put ourselves in hopefully a good position to go out and put in a good performance on Saturday."

Gatland says the messages of support have helped his family.

"I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all the messages of support I have had from last week," said Gatland.

"There have been hundreds for myself and my family. We appreciate it and it has made a big difference."


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