It's has been declared as nothing more than a "money-grabbing exercise", with some say it 'devalues global rugby'.
Gatland said: 'If anyone has come out and criticised this match, they're completely ill-informed in terms of how important it is for the long term.
"Playing in a different situation, different culture, travelling, putting ourselves out of the comfort zone".
Gatland has named a team for the game at RFK Stadium (kick-off 10pm) featuring just Dragons lock Cory Hill and George North, at centre rather than wing, from the one that took on France in the Six Nations finale.
Fly-half Rhys Patchell, meanwhile, is due to be on the bench but he faces a fitness test ahead of the game, with Scarlets number nine Gareth Davies stepping in if Patchell fails it.
"We need him there this week he's got the experience".
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"With his work ethic and determination he'll always be in the selection mix and he's another leader we want to develop going into the World Cup (in Japan) next year", said Erasmus this week.
"Then someone else made the decision for him to leave Wales and to go up to Northampton".
"I can't control what other people think of me, I can only control what I can do on the field‚" he said‚ adding that he did not believe his appointment to the captaincy was political. Of the match day 23, there are 13 with no previous experience of worldwide rugby.
Lock Pieter-Steph du Toit captains a starting team that has an average age of 24, containing 134 caps.
Rassie Erasmus said: "As coaches, we are tremendously excited about the prospect of seeing some of our best young players getting the opportunity to play at this level".
Their cohesive forward and set-piece play are some of their main strong points.
Wales for their part, have also named a virtually unrecognisable match-day squad for the clash which falls outside of World Rugby's Test window and has drawn widespread criticism as a result.