Gatland targets southern sides
Warren Gatland is hopeful Wales can start to make an impact against the southern hemisphere heavyweights.
Wales hold a miserable record against South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
During Gatland's coaching reign, they have claimed just one win from 21 starts at that trio's expense, which came five years ago.
The Springboks and Wallabies are both looming large on Wales' autumn agenda next month, and Gatland said: "At times, we probably haven't performed as well as we would have liked against some of the southern hemisphere teams. That is about the development of the side.
"Hopefully, there is enough experience now so that we can make an impact against the southern hemisphere sides over the next couple of years. That's a task.
"But there is also a little bit of room for development because the biggest tournament for us is the Six Nations. The last thing I want is to win the four games in the autumn and then to go and finish fourth or fifth in the Six Nations."
Gatland, now back with Wales following a season's work with the 2013 British and Irish Lions, has named three uncapped players in a 35-man squad for Tests against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia next month.
Ospreys wing Eli Walker, Cardiff Blues centre Cory Allen and Scarlets scrum-half Rhodri Williams have all been selected, but there are no places for injured Lions backs Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert.
Racing Metro centre Roberts is recovering from an ankle injury, while Blues wing Cuthbert suffered an ankle problem during last weekend's Heineken Cup victory over European champions Toulon.
Hooker Matthew Rees, meanwhile, is another absentee, with the former Wales captain set to undergo testicular surgery, the Blues announced on Tuesday.
"It is a tough time for Matthew. He has our full support, and fingers crossed things will work out in the best possible way for him," Gatland added.
"With Jamie, there is speculation that he might be available for the last game (against Australia). Alex has had some scans. He needs some more scans and then we can make a final decision on him.
"It looks like a bit of ligament has been pulled away, but I am not medically qualified to know how long he is going to be out for."
Perpignan back James Hook, who last started for Wales against another Test-playing country two years ago, has made the squad, which is based largely on last season's Six Nations title-winning group.
Three players who made their Wales debuts on this summer's tour to Japan - Cardiff Blues backs Rhys Patchell and Owen Williams, plus Scarlets hooker Emyr Phillips - also feature.
And there are returns for Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland and Perpignan lock Luke Charteris, who both missed large parts of last season due to injury, in a squad captained by 2013 Lions skipper Sam Warburton.
"Sam acquitted himself very well on the Lions tour," Gatland said.
"He was absolutely outstanding in the second Test before he picked up his (hamstring) injury.
"When we selected the squad, we didn't even talk about the captain. For all of us, it was just a given that he (Warburton) was going to captain the squad."
Wales open their autumn campaign against South Africa on November 9, which will see them make a Millennium Stadium return for the first time since crushing England by a record 30-3 scoreline to claim last season's Six Nations crown.
"The nice thing is the information coming to us is that South Africa would have liked us later in the autumn campaign, which I think is a sign of respect for the talent in the squad that we have," Gatland added.
"They are always tough and physical, and it is important for us to hit the ground running.
"It (the England game) was one of the best sporting occasions I've been involved in.
"To see the efforts of the past couple of years come together in terms of confidence and self-belief and to get a performance like that, to see the crowd get in behind, I got a huge thrill and a huge buzz to see the team perform like that."