Gatland wants direct approach to gaining revenge over Fiji

The last time Wales played Fiji an outrageous 38-34 upset cost Gareth Jenkins his job and led to Warren Gatland's return to the international stage. For obvious reasons, the latter is determined there will be no re-enactments at the Millennium Stadium this evening.

This is supposed to Wales' banker in the autumn series, but all week the message at the team hotel has been "remember Nantes 2007". It was there that the South Sea Islanders famously danced their way through to the knockout stages of the World Cup, causing what Deiniol Jones called "one of Welsh rugby's darkest days" in the process.

The Blues lock did not play that evening, but 10 of the current squad were involved. The captain, Ryan Jones, gave an impassioned speech on Monday, underlining to the new boys what this rematch means. "The guys are still hurting and have talked about this one for a while," said the centre Andrew Bishop. "It's a chance to get some revenge."

Gatland has resisted the temptation of making them watch the video. That particular squad session would have been entitled "How not to play Fiji". "From what I understand, the players didn't implement the game plan and tried to take on Fiji at their own game," said Gatland. He also pointed out what that result meant to his own future, saying: "If Wales had won, I wouldn't be sitting here now."

But he is and because of it, it is almost inconceivable Wales will ignore his instructions, like they presumably did his predecessor's. "We don't want to get into the situation where we're playing sevens rugby," said Gatland. "I've told the players the way to approach this is the same way the All Blacks, South Africa and particularly Australia do when they play the likes of Fiji or Samoa. They make sure their forwards are really direct and then go and play some rugby."

So the roof will not be open and neither will the Welsh play, at least not at the beginning. Gatland wants his team, showing nine changes to that which fell agonisingly short against South Africa last week, to display "structure", "intensity" and "ruthlessness". "We've been competing well against the best teams, but in the past the criticism has been that in games like this when we are expected to do well we just haven't turned up," said Gatland, who doesn't need telling that Wales have not lost six games in a row in seven years.

Plenty will rest on the still young shoulders of Dan Biggar. The Ospreys fly-half has come under scrutiny this season after a number of indifferent displays. If the 21-year-old can control the ball that will arrive from what should be a dominant home pack, then the likes of James Hook, Lee Byrne and the 18-year-old wing sensation George North could put down a marker for next year's World Cup, where Wales have again drawn Fiji. As ever the visitors' preparations have been anything but ideal.

They arrived in Wales without two of their best players. Seru Rabeni and Wame Lewaravu encountered "visa problems". "We have to win," said the Welsh prop Adam Jones. "If we don't it will be a bit shambles."

Millennium Stadium, tonight, 7.30pm (BBC 1W)

Wales L Byrne (Ospreys); G North (Scarlets), J Hook, A Bishop (both Ospreys), A Brew (Dragons); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Rees (Blues); P James, H Bennett, A Jones, I Gough (all Ospreys), D Jones (Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt), D Lydiate (Dragons), J Thomas (Ospreys). Replacements R Hibbard (Ospreys), J Yapp, B Davies (both Blues), T Faletau (Dragons), M Phillips (Ospreys), S Jones (Scarlets), T Shanklin (Blues).

Fiji J Matavesi; M Tagicakibau, A Vulivuli, G Lovobalavu, V Goneva; S Bai, N Kenatale; C Ma'afu, V Veikoso, D Manu (capt), I Rawaqa, J Qovu, S Saukawa, S Koyamaibole, M Ravulo. Replacements T Talemaitoga, G Dewes, S Kalou, A Qera, S Taka, R Ratu, T Rawaqa.

Referee J Garces (Fr).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent