Rugby Union

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Rhys Patchell apologises for his try celebration during Tonga rout

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Warren Gatland hailed Wales’ strength in depth as his side claimed an eighth straight victory by dismantling Tonga 74-24 in Cardiff.

Wales’ winning sequence is their longest since the 2004-05 season, and victory over South Africa next weekend would complete a first autumn Tests clean sweep.

Gatland’s second string ran in 10 tries and scored 50 second-half points, and the Wales coach accepts there will be heartache for several squad members when it comes to World Cup selection next year.

“There were a lot of players out there who did that,” Gatland replied at his post-match press conference when asked about who impressed him.

“As the game went on a lot of those individuals got better and more comfortable, especially in that second half.

“There’s definitely some real questions in terms of picking the (World Cup) squad.

“We’ve got 40 players and you think eight or nine of them are going to miss out on the World Cup squad.

“Some players are very aware of how important the next six months are.

“We’re in a good place at the moment. We’re building nicely and there’s some good competition.”

Wales v Australia - International Friendly

Tonga, beaten on all eight previous encounters against Wales, gave the hosts a scare by wiping out an 18-point lead.

But that was the signal for Wales to cut loose and post their highest points total since beating Namibia 81-7 during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

One of Wales' try scorers was Rhys Patchell, and he was quick to apologise after his celebration went pretty wrong.

After running under the posts and securing a try for his team, Patchell rather enthusiastically chucked the ball away, only for it to hit a match-day steward in the back of the head.

He was quick to realise what he had done, and was, to his credit, very quick to apologise.

Wales have now beaten Scotland, Australia and Tonga this month, and have never completed an autumn whitewash since the four-Tests schedule was introduced in 2002.

Topics:
Wales Rugby
Rugby Union
Rhys Patchell

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