Gatland welcomes prospect of new investment in rugby

South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Qatar Airways Cup at Twickenham before the 2023 World Cup

Men’s international friendly: South Africa v Wales

Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 22 June Kick off: 14:00 BST

Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru the BBC Sport website and app, plus live text commentary and followed by match report on the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says rugby should welcome the prospect of a new external cash injection as Qatar prepares to invest in the sport.

Wales will play for the Qatar Airways Cup this Saturday when they face world champions South Africa at Twickenham.

Qatar is being touted as the destination for the finals of World Rugby's new Nations Championship 12-team tournament which is planned to start in 2026.

The deal is being reported as bringing in a potential £800m investment into rugby.

Qatar has already staged football's 2022 World Cup, while golf, snooker and boxing have also benefitted from money from other Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia.

This is despite concerns over human rights issues within these countries and accusations sports are losing their identity by selling to the highest bidder.

With the prospect of Wales playing in Qatar in a couple of years, Gatland was asked if he thought external investment was a good thing or if he had any concerns and he replied: "Take the money and run, that's my approach. I think it is what the game needs."

The Wales coach then insisted he "does care where the money comes from" but added: "If there is a chance to look at external investment, it is widely done in football so I don't see any difference or reason why rugby should not be looking at different opportunities.

"It has been done in golf as well. There has been a huge amount of strain, not just in Wales, but everywhere within the game in rugby in the last few years. Post Covid and the impact that has had.

"I definitely think there has been a reset but having that investment externally could be a positive in terms of maybe growing the game globally as well."

Gatland pointed to what other sports had done.

"They have been able to have that opportunity to have access to other streams of revenue that have not been readily available with vast resources as well and looking to expand their interests," said Gatland.

"As long as we are smart in terms of how we approach that and there is an opportunity to invest, grow the game and put the money back into the game, I see it as a positive."