Wales coach Warren Gatland says critics of Saturday’s match against the Springboks in Washington DC are ‘bitter’ and ‘twisted’.
The Test at RFK Stadium, which falls outside of the international window, has been called a money-making exercise, but Gatland says it will form a vital part of his team’s preparations for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
‘If anyone has come out and criticised this match, they’re completely ill-informed in terms of how important it is for the long term,’ Gatland said.
‘I think you would have to be someone with a chip on your shoulder or be pretty bitter and twisted to criticise this match because I see it as absolutely vital in terms of our long-term planning for 2019.
‘It’s about creating depth and replicating conditions that are going to be very much the same in Japan. Playing in a different situation, a different culture, travelling, and putting ourselves out of our comfort zone all make for a really important stepping stone for us.’
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