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Gatland comes home to do some study

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Sportal.co.nz     14 Apr 2014     Getty Images

Gatland's Wales team is to tour South Africa in June and he is looking to improve on the 22 losses Wales have suffered in 23 outings against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia since he took over as coach in 2008.

Gatland is keen for Wales to cross the psychological barrier surrounding southern hemisphere sides ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup.

The first Test is against South Africa in Durban on June 14.

And because he believes the Welsh need to be at full-strength he will not heed some calls for players to be rested.

Gatland told Walesonline.co.uk, "We are going to do ourselves a disservice if we go to South Africa cold.

"If we rest three or four players, go there and get beaten, it's not good for us.

"We have got to give ourselves the best possible opportunity we can against South Africa so we will be fully-loaded," he said.

In a bid to replicate World Cup scheduling, Wales will play the Southern Kings four days before the first Test.

Gatland wants to put his squad under added pressure in a tough environment.

"We want to try and replicate what we face at the World Cup, when we have five and four-day breaks between matches," he said.

"We want to put the players under pressure in South Africa because that's what is going to happen at the World Cup.

"It will give us a chance to see if we can cope if we get any injuries. We want to make sure having to deal with short turnarounds and knocks isn't an issue for us.

"We have got to have confidence in our squad so we feel we are in a position to rest players, if need be, at the World Cup," he said.