Warren’s Words of Wisdom for Wales

Wales players spent their final weekend in training before the Six Nations starts and for prop Gareth Thomas that meant hanging on the words of Warren Gatland.


Thomas reckons the master coaxing of the Kiwi coach can make sure the greenest of

Welsh squads can quickly come of age when they start their tournament  at home

to Scotland on Saturday.


“”You can tell already, he is breathing confidence into the group and that will be key for us

next week,” said Thomas, who at 30 suddenly finds himself as one of the elder figures in a

squad with an average age of 25.


“Just to have a bit of confidence in a young group, it’s very exciting to think what we can do.


“Gats said at the World Cup, we’re a country that always punches above its weight. We’re

going to have to do that in this campaign as well.


“That bit of belief and the detail we get from the coaches, if we can deliver on what they

deliver to us, I think we’ll look good.


“I can’t see a team coming up against us and thinking they’re going to have an easy day.


Since I have been involved and watching Wales before me, nobody has had any easy day

against Wales.


“The boys who we’ve got in the squad at the minute, none of us will back down in any fight.”

In a tournament of fresh faces, Wales will have the chubbiest cheeks.


Five of their squad are uncapped, half the squad have eight caps or fewer, and they are

captained by 21-year-old Dafydd Jenkins, the youngest Wales skipper for 56 years.


Gnarled old stagers such as Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and Dan Biggar

have shuffled off and there are plenty of the mid-range batch who are out injured.


It means Gatland has had to hatch Dragons eggs earlier than he might have wanted, but

loose-head Thomas – who was part of the World Cup campaign where Wales reached the

quarter-finals – insists the kids will be alright.


“There’s a lot of new faces here, it’s exciting and they bring a lot of energy. It’s all good

intense sessions and I’m quite excited about what the younger boys can bring to the Six



One of those is Exeter lock Jenkins, the youngest Welshman to lead the team since the

great Sir Gareth Edwards, who was 20 when he took the armband in 1968.


Jenkins was not even born the last time the Scots won in Cardiff, in 2002.


Thomas added: “Daf has come in and really got the group together. He is building the



“He is one of those captains who will lead through his actions and create the respect for

others to follow.”


Gatland had to hold his breath at the weekend as Jenkins was playing for Exeter, but although the second row was on the losing side as the Chiefs lost to Saracens, 40-22, he came through unscathed, as did Sarries and Wales centre Nick Tompkins.


There has been talk of a Scottish rugby revival for a few years now, but every time they

come south and turn right, it’s no more than bagpipe hot air.


If they can’t do it next week, against the most callow Welsh side they will ever face, then who

knows when they will?


Gatland has lost a host of experienced players and seen Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake – who co-captained his team at the World Cup – suffer injuries.


“I think a lot of people are underestimating what this team can do,’ said new skipper Jenkins.


“A lot of people have written us off already which is a dangerous thing to do.


“They have in the past and as a country we’ve proven people wrong time and time again.”


Wales have finished fifth in the last two Six Nations. But Gatland and now Jenkins have emphasised their belief they can upset the rest of the tournament’s more fancied teams.


Scotland at home, in front of a capacity Cardiff crowd, is a winnable opener for Wales even if Gregor Townsend’s side should be favourites.


Tune into today’s podcast to hear Danny Wilson’s outlook on this weekends Wales v Scotland game.