Things fell apart for Wales

Things fell apart for Wales


Warren Gatland felt his side collapsed in the second half on their way to recording a heavy defeat to France.

Speaking immediately after the game, a solemn Gatland said his side “unfortunately capitulated a bit in the last 15 minutes.”

With the clock having ticked past the hour mark and his side having defiantly deterred a multitude of French close-range attacks, their resistance finally broke when debutant Georges-Henri Colombe burrowed under Welsh goal line defence.

Just three minutes after, another of France’s hefty replacements, Romain Taofifenua charged down Gareth Davies to crash over, before a Thomas Ramos penalty and Maxime Lucu try helped France on their way to a bonus point win and record points total against Wales in the Six Nations.

Wales’ head coach rued his sides poor game management in the game’s decisive minutes, saying: “We probably overplayed a little bit.

“65 minutes on the clock and we’re winning the game. A significant turnover and then we’ve allowed. Them to get in behind us and score.

“Still at six points down, it was one of those games where you’re saying ‘stay in the fight, don’t give anything soft even if it means playing a little bit of territory’ to put some pressure on them and not give away anything”.

Instead, Wales’ most experienced player, Davies on his 76th cap, was charged down with no cover from the on-rushing Taofifenua.

“We’ve given them something soft, and the game’s gone away from us,” he added. “We need to learn, learn pretty quickly, about handling those minutes.

“In international rugby you don’t often get the luxury of getting away with those, you get punished for those things. We’re feeling the effects of that at the moment”.

Aside from Davies, Wales conceded the two crucial tries with a backline averaging 21 caps, a situation that was of Gatland’s own creation given his shock decision to drop 155 caps in the form of the well-established centre partnership of Nick Tompkins and George North.

“A lot was made about the centres”, said Gatland. “I thought as a combination they did okay today. They will learn from that, they will learn defensively in terms of the linespeed.

“Our linespeed was off a little bit, France get round us and caused us problems. “We run the same play against them where their 12 and 13 get high and defend and shut us down. [Owen Watkin and Joe Roberts] will get better from that, they’ll learn from that.”

Nonetheless, Gatland defended his selection. Indeed, until the last 15 minutes, it appeared Watkin and Roberts were justifying their selection themselves.

Watkin created Wales’ second try for Tomos Williams brilliantly, whilst Joe Roberts provided a muscular finish to give Wales their last lead in the game.

“We made a few changes without making a mess. If we’d kept the same midfield as we had last week in terms of Nick Tompkins and George, then we might’ve started Mason Grady. We’re just trying to integrate people without being too radical with the amount of changes and giving those guys that experience at this level”.

Written by Tom Jeffreys

For exclusive stories and all the detailed rugby news you need, subscribe to The Rugby Paper website, digital edition, or newspaper from as little as 14p a day.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *