Wales coach Warren Gatland believes his side has the potential to go deep into the tournament at the upcoming World Cup in Japan.
Gatland was upbeat despite Wales’ 22-17 loss to Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday, which saw them fall off of top spot in the World Rugby rankings and brought an end to their 11-match unbeaten streak at home.
The New Zealander will bring an end to his 12-year reign as Wales coach after the World Cup as he will coach the Chiefs before taking a year off to continue as British & Irish Lions coach for their tour to South Africa.
Gatland will name his squad for the World Cup on Sunday but said on Saturday that he was confident his players could give him a winning farewell.
‘I think it’s the best squad in terms of the depth we’ve got,’ Gatland said. ‘If we do pick up a few injuries like we did in 2015, I think we would be able to cope so much better now.
‘The expectation from ourselves is that we will be very disappointed if we don’t make the quarter-finals, and that’s step one. Then you take every game as it comes.’
Wales’ best showing at a World Cup under Gatland was making it to the 2011 semi-finals where they were beaten by France.
‘I think we’ve massively over-achieved in what we’ve done in the last 12 years,’ Gatland added, referring to their Six Nations win this year.
‘We are not finished yet. If we are mentally and physically right, we’re capable of beating anyone in the world. I honestly believe we will go a long way at this World Cup.’
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