Rugby World Cup 2023: Wales head coach Warren Gatland not keen on water breaks

The Wales squad at their first full training session in Versailles for the 2023 World Cup
The Wales squad at their first full training session in Versailles for the 2023 World Cup

Rugby World Cup 2023: Fiji v Wales

Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux Date: Sunday, 10 Sept Kick-off: 20:00 BST

Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says he hopes water breaks are not introduced in the 2023 World Cup.

France is experiencing searing temperatures with World Rugby considering allowing intervals during each half to help sides conquer the heat.

But Gatland believes Wales' punishing fitness camps in Turkey and Switzerland will stand his side in good stead.

"No I wouldn't support [water breaks], not particularly," said Gatland.

"We would like the ball on the park as often as we could.

"We think we're in pretty good shape physically. In terms of that, we're not going to push back on water breaks if that's what's decided. We won't be arguing with World Rugby on that decision."

Gatland believes Wales' physical conditioning sessions could be harder than any game situation and that workload will aid them against Fiji in Bordeaux in the World Cup opener.

"If we go to a dark place from a conditioning point of view, then hopefully there are no darker places," said Gatland.

"We've worked incredibly hard as a group.

"They've got some big physical players in their forward pack. There's no doubt that we want to move them around as much as we possibly could.

"There's different ways of doing that, whether that's ball in hand or using a kicking strategy. They've had five warm-up games so they're definitely rugby fit.

"It's how much conditioning they've done in those five weeks. It's not always easy to get your conditioning in when you're preparing for games.

"We've been focusing on that as a group. We worked amazingly hard at the Vale.

"The boys have been to a few dark places in Turkey and Switzerland. Hopefully that builds some resilience and mental toughness that we're going to require."

Wales will face Fiji in a fifth successive World Cup with Gatland in charge of a fourth game against the same opposition.

He is expecting a different challenge on this occasion with Fiji the highest world ranked side in Pool C and having defeated England at Twickenham less than two weeks ago.

"It does feel different as I think they're a different Fiji side," said Gatland.

"They're a lot more structured than they used to be. They've always had incredibly world class individual athletes who could open up a game.

"But bringing that organisation and structure makes them more dangerous. In the past, their set-piece has been something that hasn't been the best and that's probably why they've tended to be more flamboyant, but not so much anymore.

"They've worked hard on their set-piece and that makes them a dangerous side as we saw at Twickenham."