Six Nations 2024: Wales 21-24 Italy – visitors consign Wales to first Wooden Spoon in 21 years

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The question will now be whether Warren Gatland is the man to lead the rebuild and revival, a coach who won three Grand Slams and reached two World Cup semi-finals during his first 12-year stint in charge.

The WRU think so with the executive director of rugby Nigel Walker previously calling Gatland the best coach in the world.

Since he returned to replace Wayne Pivac in December 2022, Gatland has only won one game in 10 Six Nations matches – against Italy in Rome last year.

His overall record of his second spell in charge is six wins in 18 games, with four of those victories coming in the World Cup in France last year where Wales reached the quarter-finals before losing to Argentina.

Gatland has lost a lot of experience in the past year with the retirements of Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar, Josh Navidi, Leigh Halfpenny and now North.

Liam Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Tomas Francis, Taulupe Faletau, Jac Morgan, Taine Plumtree, Christ Tshiunza and Dewi Lake have been unavailable for this campaign because of injury or club commitments.

That has left Gatland handing Cardiff’s Cameron Winnett, Alex Mann, Mackenzie Martin and Evan Lloyd a chance when they have played only a handful of professional games.

Gatland will also reflect on some of his own decisions, with his selections and replacement decisions during matches.

Grady and Rowlands reminded him of their talents against Italy in a campaign in which they were noticeably underutilised.

It will not get easier as Wales prepare to play world champions South Africa and Australia this summer.

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