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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Wednesday, 9 June 2010 13:13 UK

Wales coach Warren Gatland blasts lack of leadership


Gatland demands decisive players

Warren Gatland has criticised his Wales players for their reliance on southern hemisphere players for leadership at regional level.

The Wales coach used Saturday's 34-31 defeat to world champions South Africa as an example of lack of leadership.

"I'm not talking about captaincy, just leadership in terms of understanding the game," said Gatland.

"When our regions play, the people who make decisions and lead are the southern hemisphere players."

Wales fly to New Zealand on Wednesday for their two-Test tour later this month.

They have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953 when they won 13-8 at Cardiff Arms Park.

But Gatland is trying to rally his troops as they build up to next year's World Cup, which also takes place in New Zealand.

Following the game on Saturday, he accused his side of handing under-strength South Africa victory "on a plate" because of "ill-discipline".

And now he has called on his players to bring leadership to the table.

"They [our players] are being led and dominated [in the regions] and you see them in groups and see who's controlling the game," added Gatland.

"Often it is those experienced southern hemisphere players [controlling] and they [our players] come out of that environment and come into ours.


"We're trying to get them to understand and we're putting them in situations they're not often familiar with.

"They turn around and look around and say: 'where's Jerry Collins, Marty Holah?' or 'where's David Lyons or Xavier Rush?'

"They haven't got those players here, or Ben Blair or Casey Laulala.

"For our players in terms of their overall management and leadership, it's quite difficult for them sometimes coming into this environment."

Wales full-back Lee Byrne agreed home-grown Ospreys players had learned from overseas team-mates like Marty Holah and Jerry Collins, but put Saturday's failure down to lack of time competing as a team.

"They [overseas players] are quality players. They haven't just come over here on the payroll, they have really stood up and we have learnt off them - we do look to them now and again," Byrne said.

"But we have got leaders in this [Wales] team as well" he added. "I think it [defeat to South Africa] was a bit of a lack of game time."

In a separate twist, Ospreys joint managing director Mike Cuddy said the restriction of having just six overseas players made it hard for the region to compete.

"We can't go out and sign two Argentinian props or a South African back row," said Cuddy after Tuesday's Heineken Cup draw which pits them against ex-winners Munster, London Irish and Toulon.

"We are allowed six players from overseas. It has its plus points and has its minus points.

"When you have a draw like this and you're already carrying five or six players, your recruitment is virtually done."

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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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