Gatland says management have made Wales’ players aware they will be looking their GPS numbers and body language in training
Warren Gatland has read the riot act ahead of Wales’ vital World Cup clash with Fiji by revealing he’s prepared to drop anybody shirking in training.
The Wales coach made just three changes to the side that beat England 28-25 at Twickenham last weekend in Pool A to inspire the nation with a real backs to the wall job.
Full-back Liam Williams was ruled out of Thursday night’s meeting with a Fiji team that cannot make the quarter-finals by concussion while centre Scott Williams (knee) and wing Hallam Amos (shoulder) will play no further part in the tournament because of the seriousness of their injuries.
Alex Cuthbert returns at right-wing with George North reverting the left, Matthew Morgan comes in at No.15 and Tyler Morgan into midfield.
Gatland has given the pack which started against England a chance to redeem itself after coming off second-best at the scrum and line-out against the English juggernaut.
Fiji were hugely competitive against the Red Rose and Australia despite losing both fixtures and Gatland doesn’t want any complacency to creep in and Wales to slip up on a potential banana skin.
“They’ve got a bit of a rocket in terms of I named a team and said to them ‘this morning was lighter but we’ll look at GPS numbers (training data) and the intensity of those numbers,” he warned.
“I said that if I see the body language is not right then I’ll change you tomorrow.”
Gatland said the challenge facing Wales was psychological with the players having to get up for a match they cannot afford to lose after coming down from the emotional high of conquering Twickenham.
“It’s not physical but mental. You’ve got to make sure that sometimes the challenge is not the physical one but mental. Our jobs as coaches to make them mentally right,” he added.
Blindside flanker Dan Lydiate, who will pick up his 50th Wales cap against Fiji, said Gatland’s no-holds barred message had certainly got through to him.
“He said he would be looking at the GPS numbers to see how hard we were running and watching the boys’ body language,” explained the 27-year-old.
“He said that if anyone walks round the pitch thinking they can take it easy, they will suffer the consequences.
“He said that if anyone was brave enough to test that theory, go ahead. I was like, alright, I will be flat out this afternoon (Tuesday).
“Everyone is on their toes every selection and that is the best way to be. No one takes a place for granted.”