Warren Gatland has joked he does not know how to get to the away coach's box at the Principality Stadium, as he prepares to bid farewell to Wales.

Gatland brought his 12-year tenure as Wales coach to an end with a defeat to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup third-place play-off, after a 19-16 loss to eventual champions South Africa in the semi-finals.

Fellow New Zealander Wayne Pivac has now taken over, with his first game in charge of the Six Nations champions coming against a Barbarians side coached by Gatland on Saturday in Cardiff.

Acknowledging it will be a bizarre way to say goodbye, Gatland nevertheless said he is relishing going up against his former side, revealing he asked the Barbarians to be their coach for this particular match.

"I have no idea where the away box is. Someone will have to show me so that I do not get lost," Gatland told a news conference after announcing his team for Saturday's match.

"I did not think it was right for it to be my last match with Wales. I was finished after the World Cup and it was a great chance for the new coaching team to come in and get some time with the players to help them build for the Six Nations.

"I thought that was really important and so rather than the Barbarians asking me I had to ask them if I could please coach them against Wales so that I was involved.

"I have enjoyed this week, working with players and coaches for the first time, and it is an opportunity for me to say thank you to the Welsh fans and public for 12 brilliant, amazing years.

"The place has grown on me and I do not think I can lose either way on Saturday, but we are here to play some rugby and give a good performance."

Gatland also added he has not had any contact with his successor, insisting it would be out of place for him to offer any guidance.

"I have not been in contact with Wayne. This is his team now and I have stepped back because it is important that he takes the reins," Gatland said.

"He was at the World Cup for a couple of weeks and had a look. It was funny on Tuesday because I went back to my apartment and drove past when they were training.

"It felt a bit weird so I made sure I did not look out of the car window and my apartment overlooks the ground. I did not watch them train and felt a bit awkward. It was too dark, anyway.

"It is an unusual situation on Saturday but one to look forward to. I am sure both sides will want to play."

Justin Tipuric will captain Wales in Wayne Pivac's first game at the helm as the Rugby World Cup semi-finalists take on the Barbarians, led by their former coach Warren Gatland.

After 12 years in charge of Wales, New Zealander Gatland brought an end to his tenure following their campaign in Japan, which concluded with a 19-16 defeat to eventual champions South Africa in the last four.

Former Scarlets coach Pivac has replaced his compatriot and his first game in charge comes on Saturday against a Barbarians side coached by Gatland.

Tipuric – one of eight players in the team to have featured at the World Cup – has been named skipper and will start in the back row, while Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl, who has qualified to represent Wales on the three-year residency rule, has been handed a debut.

It will be Wales' first meeting with the Barbarians since 2012, and Pivac is relishing the contest at the Principality Stadium.

"This week has been hugely exciting and hugely important for us as a group," said Pivac. "It has been an opportunity for us as a new squad and management to get together and to set the scene for what the future holds.

"This weekend itself is really exciting. The Barbarians are what rugby is all about. It is the fun element of the game and supporters should be looking forward to some good old-fashioned running rugby and it should be an entertaining afternoon."

Gatland, meanwhile, has named former Ireland captain Rory Best as the Barbarians' skipper. It will be the 37-year-old's final international match.

 

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl, Owen Watkin, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Seb Davies, Ollie Griffiths, Gareth Davies, Sam Davies, Owen Lane​.

Gareth Bale could make his first LaLiga appearance since October 5 after he was named on a star-studded Real Madrid bench for the home game against Real Sociedad.

Forward Bale has not featured for his club since the 4-2 win over Granada at the start of last month, though he has played four times for Wales since that outing.

The 30-year-old was on international duty during the week, helping Ryan Giggs' squad secure a place at Euro 2020 with a 2-0 win over Hungary. He celebrated after the final whistle, dancing and singing with a banner that read:  'WALES. GOLF. MADRID…IN THAT ORDER' 

The slogan originates from a chant by Wales supporters that pokes fun at perceptions of Bale among the Spanish media, who have accused the former Tottenham player of pushing Madrid down his list of priorities.

Prior to Saturday's game with Sociedad, Zinedine Zidane called for the Madrid fans to get behind Bale, who almost moved to China earlier in the year.

Bale will wait to find out if the Santiago Bernabeu faithful take their head coach's advice, depending on whether he is involved during proceedings in the capital.

Toni Kroos, Marcelo and Isco are also substitutes for Madrid, with the only change from the XI that started the 4-0 win over Eibar seeing Rodrygo Goes replace the injured Lucas Vazquez.

Gareth Bale has been included in Real Madrid's squad for their LaLiga encounter with Real Sociedad despite the controversy caused by his celebrations after Wales' successful Euro 2020 qualification.

Wales booked their place at next year's finals with a 2-0 win over Hungary in Cardiff on Tuesday.

Bale, who has not played for Madrid since October 5, featured from the start for Ryan Giggs' side and was pictured after the match singing and dancing behind a banner that read: 'WALES. GOLF. MADRID…IN THAT ORDER'.

The slogan originates from a chant by Wales supporters that pokes fun at perceptions among the Spanish media, who have accused Bale of bumping Madrid down his list of priorities and spending too much time on the golf course.

Those celebrations drew further criticism from sections of the Madrid press and Los Blancos' fanbase, but Zidane – whose relationship with Bale has reportedly been a troubled one – claimed on Friday that the issue had been overblown.

Zidane has now included Bale in his squad for Saturday's clash with Sociedad, who would move above Madrid with a win at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale's inclusion comes at the expense of Vinicius Junior, with the teenage winger missing out on the 19-man selection.

Vinicius has made eight appearances in LaLiga this term, though only four of those have been starts.

Zinedine Zidane has called for the Real Madrid fans to get behind Gareth Bale despite his well-publicised Wales celebrations this week.

Bale was pictured behind a banner that read 'WALES. GOLF. MADRID…IN THAT ORDER' following his country's 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday that secured them qualification to Euro 2020.

The slogan originates from a chant by Wales supporters that pokes fun at perceptions among the Spanish media, who have accused Bale of bumping Madrid down his list of priorities and spending too much time on the golf course.

Bale's celebration drew the ire of Madrid fans and many in the national media with Marca leading with the headline 'DISRESPECTFUL. WRONG. UNGRATEFUL. IN THAT ORDER'.

But Madrid head coach Zidane defended Bale, who almost left for China in the close-season, and urged the club's supporters to get behind the former Tottenham man.

"Those who really support the club, those who come to the stadium, know he's a Real Madrid player," he said.

"You shouldn't look at what goes on elsewhere, you have to support the team, the players, have to get behind the side.

"I will always support my players. Things might go on outside the Real Madrid environment but we're in this together."

Zidane was quizzed repeatedly about Bale ahead of Saturday's home game with Real Sociedad and was quick to highlight the player's achievements in Spain.

He added: "I think sometimes people go over the top with this topic, everyone has their point of view, we're here to focus on football. 

"I think now it's almost the snowball effect. I mean he was fit and could play with the national team, he's here, available and we're delighted. 

"He's done a lot for this club. I'm only concerned with the sporting side. I'm not here to speak about the rest, I'm not interested. I know a lot of people are but not me."

Gareth Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett said the Real Madrid star's "WALES. GOLF. MADRID… IN THAT ORDER" flag celebration was "meant for the media" amid backlash.

Bale caused a stir in Cardiff on Tuesday, when he was pictured laughing and celebrating in front of a fan-made banner after Wales qualified for Euro 2020.

Tipped to leave Madrid and criticised for his priorities amid his love for golf, Wales fans have adopted the chant, "Wales, golf, Madrid", which was heard during the international break.

Spanish newspaper Marca's frontpage on Thursday read: "DISRESPECTFUL. WRONG. UNGRATEFUL. IN THAT ORDER".

But speaking to ESPN, Barnett insisted there were "no worries" for Bale ahead of his return to Madrid.

Bale, who has not featured for Madrid since October, is set to appear for the club's LaLiga meeting against Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

The 30-year-old has scored two goals in seven appearances across all competitions this season.

Gareth Bale's popularity in Spain appears to have sunk to an all-time low as he heads back to Real Madrid following international duty.

Not sighted in LaLiga for well over a month, the winger made his second Wales start in four days as Ryan Giggs' men secured Euro 2020 qualification with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

Bale's timely return to fitness prompted suspicion, and his actions after the game have attracted more scorn in certain sections of the Spanish media, who have routinely criticised him for spending too much time on the golf course.

In Cardiff, he was pictured celebrating with Wales team-mates behind a banner that read: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

Madrid newspaper Marca, said to have close links to the powerful club that employs Bale, did not take kindly to what has been perceived as a mocking gesture.

The front page of its Thursday edition featured Bale and the headline: "DISRESPECTFUL. WRONG. UNGRATEFUL. IN THAT ORDER".

AS, also headquartered in the Spanish capital, depicted the four-time Champions League winner sinking a close-range putt alongside the headline: "BALE IS IN A HOLE".

Meanwhile, online newspaper El Espanol captured the order of priorities supporters expect – "MADRID. MADRID. MADRID. IN THAT ORDER" – while columnist Tomas Roncero summed up what appears to lay ahead.

His comment piece in AS included a simple, ominous quote for Bale's future: "Out, out, out."

The media message crossed borders ahead of Madrid's meeting with Real Sociedad on Sunday.

In an interview with The Athletic, ex-Madrid president Ramon Calderon called Bale "childish" and claimed fans were "very angry" with the one-time €100million signing.

Gareth Bale's well-publicised celebration of Wales' Euro 2020 qualification will inflame his relationship with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, according to Los Blancos' former president Ramon Calderon.

In the aftermath of his country's 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday, Bale was pictured behind a banner that read: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

The slogan stems from a chant sung by Wales fans that pokes fun at the Spanish media's portrayal of Bale, who has been accused of placing Madrid low down his list of priorities and spending too much time playing golf.

The 30-year-old almost left for China during the close season and recently admitted he gets more enjoyment from playing for the national team than Madrid.

Calderon, Madrid's president from July 2006 to January 2009, believes the events of Tuesday could cost Bale a place in Zidane's matchday squad, with Los Blancos set to host high-flying Real Sociedad in LaLiga on Saturday.

"It's going to be difficult for Bale now because it was very childish of him to pose behind that banner," Calderon told The Athletic.

"Fans are very angry because of course they didn't like that, bearing in mind he has hardly played for the team this season then he goes off on international duty with Wales and plays in two matches.

"It's a difficult situation for Zidane and he won't be happy with Bale for posing with that banner.

"Bale hasn't done himself any favours with this. He's adding fuel to the fire and it's going to be difficult for Zidane to include him in the starting line-up and also the bench."

Bale was reportedly on the cusp of joining Jiangsu Suning in July, only for the deal to fall through at the last minute.

Calderon advised the four-time Champions League winner to pursue a return to Tottenham, where Jose Mourinho is now charge.

"He was linked with going to China but that is only for players who are at the end of their careers or who go for money," he said.

"Bale has at least three or four more years at the top level. Could he join Jose Mourinho at Tottenham? Why not? It depends on what Mourinho thinks of him but I'm sure the fans at Tottenham have very good memories of him there.

"For Bale to go back to where he really belongs would be ideal for everyone, because going to China would be a pity."

A delighted Ryan Giggs hailed one of the best days of his life after Wales secured a place at Euro 2020 with a 2-0 win over Hungary.

Aaron Ramsey was the hero in Cardiff, scoring a goal in each half as Wales clinched the second qualifying spot behind Croatia in Group E – earning a shot at matching their Euro 2016 exploits following a semi-final run.

An uneven start to his first campaign in charge meant Giggs' men needed to win both of their closing matches to progress.

Victory in Azerbaijan over the weekend before success before their fervent home support saw them come good when it mattered.

"It's doesn't get any better," Wales manager Giggs told Sky Sports. "It's amazing. From where we were in the summer with those two defeats [away to Croatia and Hungary], credit to the lads the way they've come back.

"They've show grit, determination and quality. It's one of the best days of my life."

Ramsey's injury problems meant the Juventus star was making his first start of qualification on Tuesday.

"He's just showed that quality, that class," Giggs said. "The finishes… we missed him, but better late than never, I suppose."

Having never managed to represent Wales at a major tournament as a player, Manchester United great Giggs will revel in leading his country on such a grand stage.

"To be honest I haven't really thought about that," he added, referencing those playing disappointments.

"It's one of the greatest days of my life. There was a lot of hard work put in. Not only am I blessed with a good set of players but also the best staff I could ask for.

"The atmosphere every time we play in Cardiff… the fans are part of it. I was watching it in 2016 – you could tell the fans loved it then and they'll love this even more."

Gareth Bale risked incurring the wrath of Real Madrid with his celebration of Wales' Euro 2020 qualification.

Wales – semi-finalists at Euro 2016 – booked their ticket to next year's European Championship with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

Aaron Ramsey's double in Cardiff ensured Wales leapfrogged Hungary and clinched the second automatic qualifying spot in Group E.

Bale and his team-mates celebratedly wildly post-game, with the former Tottenham talisman particularly catching the eye.

Tipped to leave Madrid and criticised for his priorities amid his love for golf, Wales fans have adopted the chant, "Wales, golf, Madrid", which has been heard during the international break.

And on Tuesday, Bale was seen celebrating in front of a Wales flag with the words: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

Gareth Bale ribbed Aaron Ramsey over his fitness record after the Juventus man fired Wales to the Euro 2020 finals with a brace in the 2-0 win over Hungary.

Needing victory to progress as automatic qualifiers from Group E at Hungary's expense, Ramsey marked his first start of an injury-ruined campaign with a headed opener from Bale's 15th-minute cross.

The former Arsenal favourite was on the mark again early in the second half as Wales made it back-to-back European Championship qualifications.

"It’s about time he contributed, isn't it?" Bale told Sky Sports.

"Obviously he's a world-class player, you like to have him back. He showed again what a great player he is, scoring the goals that helped us through."

Wales were the surprise package of Euro 2016, with Ramsey and Bale to the fore as they reached the semi-finals.

Now both senior members in an increasingly youthful squad under Ryan Giggs, Ramsey was desperate to secure another outing on the biggest stage.

"We had the best time of our lives in France," he told Sky Sports. "We missed out on the [2018] World Cup, so it was a big effort.

"I missed a lot of this campaign but it's all worthwhile. Chipping in with a couple of goals is amazing.

"It means everything. We inspired a nation last time out. We wanted to do it again.

"There are some players here who haven’t experienced this. We wanted to give them a taste of it as well. We've got a great squad, a lot of great players coming through."

Speaking alongside Bale, Ramsey added: "There's still some life left in our legs yet. We're enjoying it. We'll enjoy tonight now as well."

Aaron Ramsey was Wales' hero as Ryan Giggs' side secured qualification for Euro 2020 with a 2-0 home win over Hungary.

One of the stand-out performers in his country's surprise run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Ramsey was making his first start of the current campaign following persisted fitness problems.

But the Juventus midfielder re-announced himself in style at a fervent Cardiff City Stadium, scoring a goal in each half as Wales deservedly claimed the win they needed to leapfrog Hungary and take the second automatic qualifying spot in Group E.

Gareth Bale, Daniel James and the goalscorer buzzed effectively behind imposing targetman Kieffer Moore throughout, although Giggs was also indebted to some first-half heroics from goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Wales began confidently and, when Adam Lang made the mistake of showing Bale on to his left foot on the right flank, the Real Madrid star whipped in an inviting cross for Ramsey to gleefully nod home.

Another wonderful Bale delivery – this time right-footed – saw Moore head narrowly wide in the 29th minute.

Hennessy produced a remarkable double-save to thwart Dominik Szoboszlai and Roland Sallai at close quarters in the 34th minute and it would prove a pivotal moment.

Instead of chasing the game, Wales were able to resume in composed fashion after the break and they soon had breathing space.

Moore – a handful in the air throughout for the Hungary defence - knocked down Ben Davies' 47th-minute set-piece and Ramsey, left negligently unmarked for a man of his finishing capabilities, made no mistake.

Giggs' eye-catching attacking midfield trio started to run through their repertoire, with Bale fizzing a free-kick narrowly over before James cut in to curl a shot just beyond the top-right corner.

An awful challenge from Istvan Kovacs on fellow substitute Ethan Ampadu highlighted Hungary's simmering frustration, while Peter Gulacsi saved with his boot to deny Ramsey the match ball 15 minutes from time.

What does it mean? Back-to-back Euros for Wales

Although UEFA's expansion to a 24-team tournament has leant a helping hand, Wales' achievement in reaching consecutive European Championships is a significant one for a country whose previous major tournament was the 1958 World Cup. Giggs has remained committed to letting promising youthful players flourish alongside his established stars, despite a rocky start in the group, and deserves his share of credit.

Rambo draws first and last blood

Wales got themselves in position without Ramsey but there is no doubt they go up a level with the former Arsenal man in their line-up. Fitness permitting, no nation will relish facing Bale, James and Ramsey in tandem come June.

Lang error costly for Hungary

That said, there are better ways to combat Bale than ushering him on to his lethal left foot to set up the opener. Hungary's night might still have been one of savour but for Lang's lapse.

What's next

Hungary get another bite at qualification in March's play-offs – the dream of turning out in the finals at Budapest's Puskas Arena still alive. Bale and his team-mates can dream of another unlikely tilt at European glory.

New Zealand-born duo Johnny McNicholl and Willis Halaholo have been included in the Wales squad for Wayne Pivac's first game in charge against the Barbarians a week on Saturday.

Versatile Scarlets back McNicholl and Cardiff Blues centre Halaholo are among five uncapped players selected by new head coach Pivac for the clash at the Principality Stadium.

Taine Basham, Shane Lewis-Hughes and Ashton Hewitt will also be hoping to don the red shirt for the first time against a Baa-baas side coached by former Wales boss Warren Gatland.

Captain Alun-Wyn Jones is among the absentees due to injury, while England-based duo Dan Biggar and Rhys Carre are unavailable as the game falls outside the Test window.

Pivac said: "It is great to get the squad announced and get the ball rolling on our first meet-up and first fixture next week.

"This Barbarians game is a great chance for us as a new squad and management to get together and to set the scene for what we are looking to do. Having this opportunity ahead of tournament rugby in the Six Nations is ideal for us.

"It is also a great chance for some players to really put their hand up and show what they are about and take to the field in front of a big crowd at home.

"We will be bringing a few additional players in to train with the squad during the week, just to see them in the environment and will also be bringing some of the injured players in for some of the scene setting style sessions."

 

Wales squad:

Forwards: Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Ken Owens, Rob Evans, Wyn Jones, Nicky Smith, Leon Brown, Samson Lee, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Seb Davies, Taine Basham, Ollie Griffiths, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Ross Moriarty, Aaron Shingler, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Backs: Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Tomos Williams, Sam Davies, Jarrod Evans, Willis Halaholo, Hadleigh Parkes, Owen Watkin, Owen Lane, Josh Adams, Steff Evans, Ashton Hewitt, Johnny McNicholl, Hallam Amos, Leigh Halfpenny.

Wales have suffered a further injury blow after prop Tomas Francis was ruled out for at least the start of the Six Nations due to shoulder surgery.

Francis hurt his shoulder while playing in the Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat against eventual champions South Africa.

Exeter Chiefs confirmed on Monday the 27-year-old will miss up to four months of action due to a "serious" problem.

That provides an additional selection headache to new Wales head coach Wayne Pivac, with their Six Nations campaign to start on February 1 against Italy and their last match against Scotland taking place on March 14.

They are already without star centre Jonathan Davies for the entire tournament, with fly-half Rhys Patchell also a doubt.

As for Exeter, the Premiership club have signed Argentine Enrique Pieretto due to the injuries to Francis and fellow prop Greg Holmes.

Director of rugby Rob Baxter said: "After two or three scans it became clear that Tom needs an operation to repair the shoulder injury he picked up with Wales at the World Cup.

"It's not great news for us, but at least we know where we stand now."

Gareth Bale believes the euphoric feeling of Wales' run to the semi-finals at Euro 2016 will spur Ryan Giggs' side on against Hungary.

Following a 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan on Saturday, Wales head into their final qualifying match knowing a win will be enough to secure a place at Euro 2020.

Bale scored three goals at the previous finals as Wales - with Chris Coleman in charge - reached the last four in France, going out to eventual champions Portugal.

The Real Madrid forward has claimed Wales can use the experiences gained from three years ago, plus their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, as inspiration heading into Tuesday's crucial clash in Cardiff.

"I think we can use both of [the experiences] to our advantage," Bale told a news conference.

"We have got the kind of euphoria of qualifying for our first Euros and doing so well at the competition that we really want to do that again.

"We've also got the negatives of knowing how it feels to miss out on qualifying for a tournament like we did with the World Cup.

"We can see how we don't want to feel after the game. We know prior to this game we can push and push not to feel like that again, because it's not a feeling you want in the dressing room after the game.

"The experience of qualifying for the Euros was massive and something I've never done before and to do it again might be a bit more impressive.

"It's going to stand in equal stead as last time, but we can't think about that just yet. We have another important match first and we have to focus on that as a team and a squad."

Giggs confirmed on Monday that Bale and Aaron Ramsey, who has been hampered by a thigh problem, are both ready to start against Hungary.

"I'm ready. I hadn't played in four weeks so it was important to get 60 minutes into my legs and get some match sharpness," Bale added.

"We spoke at the start of the week about trying to get 60 minutes and hopefully being a couple [of goals] up before I came off, so it worked out well, no problems, and I'm ready to go for Tuesday."

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