Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Wales warning from Byrne

Lee Byrne

Lee Byrne has warned that Wales cannot afford to keep playing catch-up rugby.

Wales launched their RBS 6 Nations campaign with a 30-17 defeat against England, which followed a 33-12 loss to Australia that concluded this season's autumn Test series. On both occasions, Wales paid for giving themselves too much to do, trailing by 17 points at Twickenham just after half-time and conceding three early tries against the Wallabies.

When Wales eventually started playing in both games, it was a case of too little, too late. And full-back Byrne said: "We seem to play when we are behind."

He added: "We can't let teams get leads like that and expect to come back and win the game.

"It's something we have got to get out of our game. We must play from the first kick-off.

"We can't let teams go ahead, get a comfortable lead and then try to chase the game. That just doesn't happen at international level."

Wales managed it at Twickenham two years ago, successfully clawing back a 16-6 interval deficit, but England held on this time to ultimately subdue the Welsh revival sparked by tries from prop Adam Jones and centre James Hook.

And few players felt the frustration more than Hook, whose sparkling score capped an outstanding display in Wales' midfield alongside his fellow Lion Jamie Roberts.

"I felt we matched them in certain areas, especially in the second-half," said Hook, a world-class operator at outside centre. "At one point I thought we had them by the scruff of the neck, and at 20-17 behind I thought we might have scored a couple more tries.

"It is a very hard defeat to take, and the worst part is that it took them scoring two tries for us to start playing. We showed then what a quality side we are, but it's disappointing that we even put ourselves in that position."

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