sport

Gatland: We've underperformed

Warren Gatland says the autumn series has been a harsh learning curve for his Wales side.

The Six Nations champions were shocked by Argentina and Samoa in their opening two games, and were a beaten docket by half-time in last weekend's loss to New Zealand.

Defeat to Australia will see Wales drop out of the world's top eight-ranked teams and into the third tier of teams for Monday's 2015 World Cup draw.

Gatland is hoping Wales can end a six-game losing streak when they face the Wallabies on Saturday, but admits it won't paper over the cracks of a poor autumn series.

"A win on Saturday would be nice, but we would still be disappointed with not winning the first two games (against Argentina and Samoa)," said Gatland.

"We won't hide away from that fact. It has been a learning curve for players and coaches, in particular for some of the younger players."

David Pocock will return to the Australia starting line-up at the Millennium Stadium, which will see him renew his breakdown battle with Sam Warburton.

"It will be a fierce contest," said Gatland. "You have got two quality world-class sevens. Pocock is a different player to Richie McCaw, a different threat.

"He (Pocock) does compete on the ball and plays the game differently to McCaw. I thought it was a great battle between Sam and McCaw last weekend."