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Warren Gatland: Wales head coach explains resting key players

Warren Gatland has defended the decision to leave four key Wales players at home this summer.

Hooker Ryan Elias, lock Will Rowlands, wing Josh Adams and flanker Alex Mann will not be involved in matches against Australia and South Africa.

It has been a long slog of a season for most Welsh players given the workload resulting from reduced regional squads.

And for some, it has been two seasons rolled into one after last summer was spent suffering Gatland’s arduous World Cup preparation.

So the decision has been made, sometimes by the head coach, other times by the player, for some to spend the off-season resting, recovering or, in one case, bulking.

“Each player is a little different but the conversation [is the same], it was about the player,” said Gatland.

“I said, ‘you’ve got to make what you feel is the best decision for you, not what’s best for Wales or your club’.

“It’s often about having a break, both physically and mentally, to recharge themselves.”

Wales finish their 11-month season with a match against Queensland Reds in Brisbane on 19 July.

The game will follow Tests against South Africa and two in Australia and will be Wales’ 18th match of a season that kicked off on 5 August, 2023 against England.

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