Gatland accentuates positives in tough draw


As is his wont, Warren Gatland livened up proceedings with his candour. “Yeah, it’s great,” he said, slightly non-plussing his audience for a moment. “We put ourselves in this position and situation and our experience of 2011 is that when you come out of a tough group it does set you up.

“We thought we played very well against Ireland in the quarter-finals,” he reflected after emerging from a group that also included South Africa, Samoa, Fiji and Namibia.

“So whoever comes out of the group, and let’s not discount Fiji, will be well prepared for the quarter-final. I think in the past it has sometimes has been the undoing of New Zealand . . . The tougher the group the better.

“It’s an exciting group. It’s a great group. From a coach’s point of view, the best thing about the World Cup is that you get four or five months to prepare. It makes a massive difference.”

Robbie Deans noted with irony: “We know the Welsh a little” after a fourth game in 2012 last Saturday, and with the Lions also in mind added: “Gatty probably thought he’d seen the back of us.”

David Pocock added: “In three years’ time anything can happen. Hopefully we’re still around then.”

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