Wales ‘A’: WRU to bring back team after 14 year absence
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) on Tuesday announced the resurrection of Wales A team for the upcoming season
It was in 2002, the second-string Wales side was scrapped as a cost-cutting measure
The board now wants to bridge the gap between the domestic and international teams after the poor performance in the ongoing series against New Zealand
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) on Tuesday announced the resurrection of Wales A team for the upcoming season following a 14-year absence.
“We will reconstitute the Wales A team for next season,” said Phillips.
“We would probably have liked to have played an A fixture in the spring, but we were carrying so many injuries it would have been too difficult.
“We believe that if we can get some A team fixtures into the equation, utilise all our data, identify at Under-20 level and upwards those players who can handle the intensity, and help to improve those who can’t just yet, we can actually move forward quite rapidly.
“We want to play one or two fixtures to improve our depth.
“We believe getting the Wales A team up and running can help both ourselves and the regions by exposing the next cadre of players to a different, higher level of competition.”
The gap between Test level and regional rugby was highlighted on the tour of New Zealand following the 40-7 hammering against the Chiefs in Gatland’s Hamilton hometown.
“That was the big lesson we learned from our midweek game against the Chiefs last week,” added Phillips.
“They will be Six Nations fixtures to start with, but we have an open mind over other opponents.
“To Warren’s credit, he always wants to play sides that put his coaching record under threat. I see that as a real strength.
“A big part of my job is making sure that the Wales A team and Under-20s are about development and then winning, but in that order.
“We simply don’t have the strength in depth and the only way we are going to improve that is by exposing players to situations they find difficult.
“I have to give the confidence and support to the coaches so they realise we are OK with that. That makes me even more accountable than they are.”
When the A team is brought back, then games against other countries’ second strings, such as England Saxons, who recently recorded an impressive 2-0 series win against South Africa ‘A’.