Six Nations

Gatland wants James to sharpen up

Warren Gatland said Tom James must improve his sharpness and conditioning after the wing was dropped from the Wales squad for Friday's Six Nations clash with France.

James returned to the international stage after an absence of more than five years to start the Six Nations draw against Ireland and the victory over Scotland.

But the 28-year-old was not even named among the replacements for the eagerly-awaited encounter with Les Bleus, as Wales head coach Gatland recalled his Cardiff Blues team-mate Alex Cuthbert on Tuesday.

Gatland has urged James to take the opportunity to improve his match fitness with his region and force his way back into the Wales set-up.

"We just feel it's an opportunity for Alex. We don't think he’s far away from coming back into some form and confidence." said the New Zealander.

"With Tom, it's an opportunity for him to get back and play some more stuff for the Blues. There is a big step up from regional rugby to international rugby.

"With the foot injury he had which kept him out of the World Cup squad, he’s been managed back at the Blues, so he knows himself he's down on sharpness and a bit of conditioning.

"It’s an opportunity for him to keep working to hopefully get back to that."