Warren Gatland eager to see Josh Hathaway’s potential after Wales squad call-up

Aberystwyth-born Hathaway offers options at full-back and wing for head coach Gatland.

Andrew Baldock
Monday 03 June 2024 17:01 BST
Josh Hathaway is among four uncapped players in Wales’ training squad (Mike Egerton/PA)
Josh Hathaway is among four uncapped players in Wales’ training squad (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Warren Gatland is relishing seeing uncapped Gloucester back Josh Hathaway’s potential at first hand after naming him in a Wales training squad for summer Tests against South Africa and Australia.

Aberystwyth-born Hathaway, who has represented Wales and England at under-20 level, offers options at full-back and wing for head coach Gatland.

And Wales have moved quickly to secure his services, which has been brought into sharp focus after Exeter wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso was in a similar position earlier this season and chose England.

“We want to make sure we qualify him for Wales,” Gatland said.

“He is a young player with a lot of potential and we think there is a lot of improvement in his game, whether it is wing or full-back.

“He has done some really impressive things for Gloucester on attack this year and we want to bring him in the squad and look to see what we can do with him.”

Hathaway, 20, is joined by three other uncapped players in a 36-strong group – Cardiff backs Jacob Beetham and Ellis Bevan, plus Ospreys wing Keelan Giles.

Liam Williams is recalled after missing this season’s Six Nations due to club commitments in Japan, while 32-year-old lock Cory Hill, who plays for Japanese fourth division club Secom Rugguts, has been named among five second-row forwards.

Wing Josh Adams, hooker Ryan Elias and lock Will Rowlands, meanwhile, are rested, Jac Morgan and Dewi Lake return after missing the Six Nations through injury, but fly-half Ioan Lloyd and flanker Alex Mann are notable selection absentees.

The current group will be reduced to 34 players after the South Africa Test, with Gatland yet to name a captain either for that game or the tour.

Wales’ clash against the world champion Springboks at Twickenham on June 22 is outside World Rugby’s international fixture window, which means Gatland will be without England-based players such as Hathaway, Nick Tompkins, Dafydd Jenkins, Christ Tshiunza and Tommy Reffell for that fixture.

The squad will then head Down Under for appointments with Australia in Sydney on July 6 and Melbourne seven days later, before tackling Queensland Reds on July 19.

And the challenge promises to be a considerable one as Wales prepare to face the world champion Springboks and an Australia team now under former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt’s direction after finishing as Six Nations wooden-spoonists.

“We made a collective decision as a group to develop youngsters,” Gatland added. “We know to do that we have to go through some pain.

“I do see light at the end of the tunnel. I was buoyed by periods where we did play well (during the Six Nations) and put quality teams under pressure.

“There are some young players in here that we are going to give some time to.

“And there are probably a few players who were selected in the squad who need a kick up the backside as well, in terms of some of their performances and some of their testing results that weren’t good enough or what we expect from a national perspective.

I am well aware that there are always expectations, particularly at international level and particularly in Wales

Warren Gatland

“So, we are where we are at the moment, but like I said, I do see light at the end of the tunnel and we’ve just got to make sure that we get back to the expectations and we work incredibly hard to improve those performances and results.

“The public want to see improvement. They want to see a group of players going out there and putting their jersey on and wearing it with pride and giving it 100 per cent and I can’t question how the players tried during the Six Nations.

“I am well aware that there are always expectations – particularly at international level and particularly in Wales – and that comes with the territory.”

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