AAP Rugby

Wales look to send Gatland off on a high

By AAP Newswire

Josh Navidi wants Wales' Rugby World Cup squad to honour Warren Gatland's legacy by giving the departing coaching staff "a send-off they deserve".

Head coach Gatland and two of his current team - defence specialist Shaun Edwards and forwards mentor Robin McBryde - are leaving their posts following the tournament in Japan.

A 12-year association will end on Sunday if Wales lose their quarter-final clash against France in Oita.

But the Six Nations champions have no intention of seeing a so-far memorable World Cup adventure end two weeks inside the distance.

"We want them to finish on a high, and, how long they've been around, we want them to finish on a positive and give them the send-off they deserve," Wales back-row forward Navidi said.

"It would be nice to get that send-off, and hopefully we keep moving forward in this competition.

"It (Gatland's legacy) speaks for itself, with the Grand Slams and all the campaigns he has been part of, and what we've achieved as a nation from the start (of his time) to where we are now.

"What he has brought to Wales speaks for itself, and hopefully we can continue this campaign now and keep pushing."

Wales lost to France in a controversial 2011 World Cup semi-final, going down 9-8 after captain Sam Warburton was sent off just 17 minutes into the match.

But they have beaten Les Bleus seven times from eight attempts since that defeat, including a spectacular Six Nations success last season when Wales fought back from a 16-0 interval deficit to triumph.

"We know where we are at, we know what we can deliver on the park, and it is just bringing it now on the weekend," Navidi added.

"We do have the confidence to play and we know each other well and we have been together for a long, long time now.

"We know what is on the line - similar to Ireland (Grand Slam game last season) - and what is at stake.

"It's knockout rugby now. Every game counts, and hopefully we can keep moving forward."

Wales have developed a habit of winning big games under Gatland, as highlighted by three Six Nations Grand Slams and victories over the likes of South Africa and Australia.

"We have got a tight-knit group," Navidi said.

"Everyone gets along, and that's half of it. There are 31 of us, and it's that chemistry from one and another you need to bring, on and off the field.

"We just need to put that 80-minute performance in that we know is still there in the tank - we need to put it in the next game."