Sport

Navidi praises Gatland prior to his last game in charge of Wales

Navidi praises Gatland prior to his last game in charge of Wales”

Athlone's Jack Carty will start Saturday's World Cup warm-up game against Wales at Cardiff at outhalf.

"For Josh, it's a huge honour to be named captain, he has been hugely consistent for us, he has really impressed in the last couple of seasons and he will lead from the front of Saturday and it is a great compliment for him to be awarded the captaincy".

"Jarrod gets an opportunity".

Wales: Hallam Amos, Owen Lane, Scott Williams, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans, Jarrod Evans, Aled Davies; Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Samson Lee, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, Josh Navidi. Rhys Carre, 2. Ryan Elias, 3.

"They have worked hard all summer to get to this point, so it will be good for them to get their first global caps and put their hands up for RWC selection after the match".

Warren Gatland has mocked suggestions that Wales do not deserve their No 1 world ranking - saying he is happy to sacrifice the spot to satisfy critics at the top of the sport. They have not lost in Cardiff since November 2017.

"They are coming here knowing they've been criticised".

Schmidt, who has made 11 changes to the starting line-up from the England game, has talked of a malaise in the team in the aftermath of the Twickenham nightmare.

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Cardiff Blues back-row forward Navidi captains Wales for the first time this weekend, and he readily acknowledges Gatland's impact as highlighted by three Six Nations Grand Slams and World Cup semi-final appearance. It is a challenge for us.

"I couldn't ask for a better game for this group of players".

Gatland - who made 14 changes to the side that beat England two weeks ago to go top of the world rankings for the first time in their history - did not let up ahead of Saturday's game.

A Dublin return follows next weekend before Wales head to the World Cup in Japan, after which Gatland will end a 12-year tenure.

"It will be quite emotional", he said. I will try and produce my best performance.

"I think the worst thing for us to do would be to be conservative or to take a step backwards because we're hesitant or we're not utterly confident in what we're doing or the people either side of us".

"I will just have a personal reflection and look back on how memorable it's been without making a big fuss about it".



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