Gatland: Wales have a bright future

London - Wales were left to pick over the bones of their heartbreaking World Cup exit after a quarter-final defeat by South Africa on Saturday but for coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton, there were still positives in defeat.

There were times before and during the tournament when Gatland's squad felt like a revolving door, such was the injury-crisis to the Welsh backline that left the New Zealander juggling his troops like a circus clown.

But from adversity, the Welsh took strength and showed character in abundance. Deprived of Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb from the start, the Welsh also lost Scott Williams, Cory Allen, Liam Williams, Hallam Amos and Eli Walker along the way.

Inspired by outstanding flyhalf Dan Biggar and an experienced pack, they still had the guile and guts to defeat old rivals England in a crucial Twickenham clash and the follow-up win over Fiji was all the more admirable given the short time between matches.

That was to be Wales last win as they fell short against Australia in their final pool match, and finally ran out of steam in the final agonising minutes, against the Springboks when a late try inflicted a 23-19 defeat.

For Gatland, Wales have least unearthed a core of younger players for the future.

"It's a good position for us to be in, to have developed a bit more strength in depth in certain roles and being to play different styles as well," he said.

"The more games you get under your belt, the more you start to talk and communicate and that's what we are still looking for some of these younger players to do."

The performance of scrumhalf Gareth Davies in place of the injured Webb was a huge plus for Wales, scoring tries against England and South Africa.

Amos and Allen showed glimpses of what they could do before injury struck but it allowed the likes of young centre Tyler Morgan and New Zealand-born Gareth Anscombe to get a taste of the international fray.

"The World Cup is finished for us but we start looking towards the Six Nations and then a tour to New Zealand next year as well," said Gatland.

"We've got three test matches out there. So a lot of these players would have got a lot of experience from this World Cup and it's a case of developing a bit more depth, particularly in the back line."

Warburton also saw a rosy future.

"It was a baptism of fire for Tyler Morgan. He's come in and Gareth Davies scored a number of tries. It's positive for us moving forward," he said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
42% - 10062 votes
11% - 2701 votes
19% - 4548 votes
2% - 595 votes
1% - 227 votes
2% - 553 votes
5% - 1186 votes
8% - 1997 votes
3% - 812 votes
Water sports
1% - 213 votes
American sports
1% - 298 votes
3% - 773 votes