Nine changes to Gatland's Wales team for Fiji clash

Wales coach Warren Gatland aims to plot Fiji's downfall tonight - leaving the South Sea Islanders as victims of their own success.

Gatland acknowledges that, had it not been for Wales' World Cup implosion against Fiji in Nantes three years ago, there is a "good chance" he would not be in his current job. The Welsh Rugby Union reacted swiftly to that 38-34 defeat at Stade de la Beaujoire, dispensing with Gareth Jenkins' coaching services less than 24 hours after a calamitous result confirmed an embarrassing pool-stage exit.

Gatland remembers watching the nine-try thriller, unaware that just six weeks later he would be unveiled as Jenkins' long-term successor. "I thought it was a great game of rugby," he said. "But, if Wales had won that day and got through to the quarter-finals (against South Africa), I think there is a good chance I wouldn't be sat here."

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Since the corresponding third game of last season's autumn series against Argentina, Wales have claimed just two wins in 11 starts, and have lost five successive games.

An outstanding performance by the pack was not enough to topple Australia two weeks ago, while a more complete all-round display against South Africa seven days later still ended in defeat. With the All Blacks looming, Gatland knows it is a night for no-nonsense rugby. He has made nine changes from the Springboks clash, although two-try debutant George North is retained, along with James Hook, Lee Byrne, Paul James, Adam Jones and Jonathan Thomas.

With props James and Jones, plus an experienced second-row combination of Gough and Deiniol Jones, Wales have sufficient firepower to stop Fiji at source and keep their revered runners in check.

But if standards dip - or players start thinking about the All Blacks' arrival in Cardiff next week - Fiji could provide another uncomfortable Millennium Stadium night, as they did five years ago when they were only denied victory by a Nicky Robinson drop-goal.

Wales: L Byrne (Ospreys); G North (Scarlets), J Hook (Ospreys), A Bishop (Ospreys), A Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Rees, (Cardiff Blues); P James (Ospreys), H Bennett (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), D Jones (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), J Thomas (Ospreys). Replacements: R Hibbard (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), M Phillips (Ospreys), S Jones (Scarlets), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues).

Fiji: J Matavesi; M Tagicakibau, A Vulivuli, G Lovobalavu, V Goneva; S Bai, N Kenatale; C Ma'afu, V Veikoso, D Manu (capt), I Rawaqa, J Qovu, S Saukawa, M Ravulo, S Koyamaibole. Replacements: T Talemaitoga, G Dewes, S Kalou, A Qera, S Taka, R Ratu, T Rawaqa.