Gatland critical of fringe players after Chiefs battering


Warren Gatland hit out at Wales' fringe players after an under-strength side were roundly thrashed 40-7 by Chiefs in Hamilton on Tuesday.

Wales made 14 changes from the team that performed well in a 39-21 loss against New Zealand in Saturday's opening Test and Gatland's men were duly blown away by the Super Rugby outfit.

Ellis Jenkins was missing due to a thigh problem, while Gareth Anscombe and Ross Moriarty were also unavailable, but Gatland was critical of the players selected.

"Questions were answered for us in terms of fringe players," said Gatland.

"A number of players were given a chance to go out there tonight and make a statement and to put their hand up for selection for Saturday, but probably a few questions were answered for us in terms of fringe players and where they're at at the moment.

"We created some chances, particularly in that first half, but we weren't clinical enough in terms of finishing that off. 

"They defended well and when the chances came their way they were excellent. They dominated us at collision time.

"I think a number of players will have learned a lot from that experience tonight."

Gatland called for Wales to respond positively in their next Test against New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday.

"There is no doubt the players in that changing room are hurting and not just the players that took to the pitch, but the players that were watching as well - and all the staff," he said. "The challenge is how we respond to that and that's what we've got to do on Saturday.

"They've got to be honest about looking themselves in the mirror, look at that performance and [think about] what they learned from tonight and how do they apply it to be better players in the future - and we've got to do exactly the same as coaches too."