WARREN Gatland will attempt to inject some self-belief into his players before Saturday’s clash with world champions South Africa – just as he did with downbeat Dragons stars during Wales’ glory days.

Wales take on the Springboks at Twickenham before travelling Down Under to take on Australia in two Tests next month.

It’s a daunting summer for a squad who claimed the Wooden Spoon in this year’s Six Nations after a clean sweep of demoralising defeats.

Following their disappointing quarter-final loss to Argentina at last year’s World Cup, Gatland’s men are without a victory since beating Georgia in the group stages in Nantes last October.

The Welsh clubs have also endured a miserable season in the United Rugby Championship, with Cardiff Rugby, Scarlets and Dragons finishing in 12th, 13th and 15th positions respectively.

The Ospreys did sneak into the play-offs on the final day of the regular season, only to lose 23-7 to Munster at Thomond Park.

And coach Gatland accepts that he has a lot of work to do to raise his players’ confidence and turn things around on the pitch.

“A big part of it is the mental side,” said Gatland, who led Wales to three Grand Slams during his first spell in charge of the national team between 2008 and 2019.

“There are not a huge amount of players coming in with confidence, in terms of results they’ve had throughout the season – particularly in big games.

So, what do we do? How do we build that self-belief in the group?

“That’s a big challenge for us. I can remember in the past having that conversation with a number of the Dragons players who came into the Wales camp when we were successful.

“The one comment that stuck out to me was that when they came into the Wales environment from the Dragons the first thing they said was ‘we believe we can win’.

“We need to get back to that and create that self-belief in the squad.”

Gatland is confident that he can improve results and build towards a successful 2027 World Cup campaign.

“We’re going to put the hard work in, and we are capable of winning,” said the Kiwi coach.

“But you can’t shy away from it, international rugby is about performance and about getting results – that’s the nature of the beast.

“We need to get some of those W’s on the board. That creates the self-belief and the feelgood factor that you’re looking for and players rocking up the following week with a spring in their step and their chest pumped out a little bit. That’s what we need to create as a group.”