Wales head coach Warren Gatland has said he would not apologise for pushing his players “to the limit” ahead of this autumn’s Rugby World Cup.
Since naming a 54-man squad in May, four players – Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric , Cory Hill and Rhys Webb – withdrew from the squad over new contracts or retirement.
Furthermore, highly rated prop Rhys Carre was released for not meeting performance targets. An online statement stating the removal of Carre was criticised for its wording online.
Gatland: I will not apologise
“A lot is made about the fitness but the camps are not just about being brutal,” Gatland said.
“This is a chance for us to put in the details that you just don’t get time to do in a normal campaign.
“We’ve prided ourselves in the past that we’ve been able to compete with the best teams in the world because we’ve worked so hard that we can play for the full 80 minutes.
“We won’t fold when we’re under the pump and we can stay in the fight to give ourselves a chance to win.
“Shaun Edwards once said ‘it’s called a Test match because that’s exactly what it is’. It tests you in every aspect; your resolve, physicality, skills, mental toughness.
“That’s what we are preparing for so I will not apologise for pushing the players to the limit to get the best out of them.”
Gatland’s Wales are in a pool with Eddie Jones’s Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal and there are concerns the side could find themselves going out in the pool stage. Georgia beat Wales last year while Fiji and Australia are likely to give the Welsh side a tough match.