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Wales skipper for the day, Josh Navidi, has hailed Warren Gatland’s “second to none” contribution ahead of his final game in Cardiff as their head coach. Gatland takes charge of his 117th Wales Test in the warm-up clash against Ireland.
A Dublin return follows next weekend before Wales head to the World Cup in Japan, after which Gatland will end a 12-year tenure. Back row forward Navidi captains Wales for the first time and he readily acknowledges Gatland’s impact that is highlighted by three Six Nations Grand Slams and World Cup semi-final appearance.
“He has been massive – what he has achieved has been huge,” Navidi said. “He’s been a big part of rugby, and what he has brought to Welsh rugby is second to none. Hopefully, we give him a nice home send-off and then can concentrate on the World Cup.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 27, 2019
Gatland’s priority is the game and then selecting his 31-man World Cup squad, which he will reveal on Sunday, but he is certain to receive a rapturous Principality Stadium send-off. “It will be quite emotional,” Gatland said. “I’ve had an unbelievable time here in Wales, the people have made my time incredibly special.
“I’m trying to keep it in perspective. It’s something I will be thinking about, but it’s not about me. I will just have a personal reflection and look back on how memorable it’s been, without making a big fuss about it.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 31, 2019
Gatland has made 14 changes from the side that accounted for England a fortnight ago, with only Scarlets flanker James Davies remaining. Meanwhile, Ireland have made 11 changes from their side which lost to the English last Saturday, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Jacob Stockdale and Bundee Aki their four survivors.
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