Liam Williams Gatland, the eternal optimist, urges Wales to ‘dream’ at RWC

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TOKYO (AP) — Wales rugby coach Warren Gatland is a dreamer, so the thought of taking the silver Webb Ellis Cup back to his native New Zealand and his family home in Waihi Beach has invariably crossed his mind.

“One of the things about me,” Gatland said Friday, “is that I am probably the greatest optimist in terms of believing something is possible. That there is a dream. If you don’t have that attitude, it will not happen.”

It explains why Gatland cut such a relaxed figure as he spoke with passion, confidence and no shortage of emotion about his Wales players, two days out from their Rugby World Cup semifinal match against South Africa.

Wales has had major injury setbacks this week — Liam Williams, a dangerous runner from fullback, was the latest Welsh player ruled of the tournament — and is viewed as the underdog against a big, bruising Springboks lineup which has run into great form in 2019.

Gatland still has utter belief, though.

“When you want something bad enough,” he said, “when you really, really want it, then it can happen.”

Underpinning Gatland’s confidence is the hard edge he has given to his team over the past two years that currently makes Wale

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