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Gatland seeks statement of intent

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/05/2016

Wales boss Warren Gatland wants his players to set the tone for how they must approach world rugby's most demanding assignment next month in Sunday's clash against Six Nations champions England at Twickenham.

Wales face a third trip of the season to English rugby headquarters, having beaten England during last autumn's World Cup, but then suffered Six Nations misery following a lamentable first-half display 11 weeks ago.

The Test match is viewed as ideal preparation for Wales ahead of facing a three-Test series against the world champion All Blacks in New Zealand, with England tackling Australia Down Under at the same time.

"Well over a year ago now, I spoke to Stuart Lancaster (former England head coach) about a potential game before going on tour," Gatland said.

"Sometimes, you go to the southern hemisphere and play in the first Test match and guys hadn't played for four or five weeks, so we just felt this was a game to try to get us up to speed to what we were going to encounter in the Southern Hemisphere.

"You just can't go out there and try to play 10-man rugby and shut up shop. You have got to be able to go out there, back your ability, back your skills and score tries. As soon as you go to those countries with a negative frame of mind, you are wasting your time."

Ospreys flanker Dan Lydiate will lead Wales this weekend in Sam Warburton's absence, with Warburton recovering from a shoulder injury suffered last month, although he is expected to be fit for Wales' opening appointment with New Zealand in Auckland on June 11.

Gatland has made five changes from the side beaten 25-21 by England in March, with starts for centre Scott Williams, wing Hallam Amos, halfback Rhys Webb, lock Jake Ball and flanker Ross Moriarty.

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