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Boss Warren Gatland sees Euro flop benefits for Wales

Wales coach Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland is hoping for a good Six Nations ahead of the World Cup

Boss Warren Gatland says Wales can benefit from the poor showing of the nation's regions in this season's Heineken Cup.

Gatland is disappointed neither Cardiff Blues nor the Ospreys have reached the tournament's quarter-finals.

But from a selfish perspective, he says leading players may not now be over-burdened during World Cup year.

"We can try and take some positives as well from... a purely selfish point of view," Gatland told Scrum V radio.

Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons saw their European Cup dreams disappear ahead of the penultimate round of pool games.

But the Ospreys then followed with a widely-criticised display at struggling London Irish on Sunday, where they lost 24-12.

The Scarlets remain in the mathematical hunt for a knock-out stages, but must win at Perpignan on Sunday and hope other results go their way.

And the Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets could yet find themselves bidding to lift the Amlin Challenge Cup this season.

Gatland acknowledged the possibility of on-going commitments in the second-tier Challenge Cup, but added: "You've just got to look at your own side and for us in the long-term obviously there's a negative of not performing.

"But when you look at the end of the season it means the players, perhaps their programme's not quite so jammed up.

"There's two or three weeks that they're off so from a selfish point of view, looking at the preparation of the World Cup it just means the players might get a bit more rest and a little bit more preparation for the World Cup.

"So yes, there's a disappointment, but we can try and take some positives as well from, like I say, a purely selfish point of view."

Gatland says the Wales camp had hoped for a serious Welsh challenge to earn a place in the Millennium Stadium final in May, particularly from Magners League title holders the Ospreys and Amlin Challenge Cup holders the Blues.

He said: "I think we were quite hopeful that with the final in the Millennium Stadium we may have got one or two teams through to the quarter-finals.

"But that's not the case and I think everyone's a little bit disappointed.

"I think on reflection everyone down in Llanelli, they can be pretty proud of the way they've performed and the competition [they've provided] in the Magners League and the development that's going on down there.

"They're bringing some good young players through and I said a while ago I think they're going to be a good side. And they've done really well."

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see also
Ospreys 29-17 Toulon
22 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Edinburgh 14-21 Cardiff Blues
22 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Perpignan 37-5 Scarlets
23 Jan 11 |  Scarlets
Dragons 16-23 Glasgow Warriors
23 Jan 11 |  NG Dragons
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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