Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Irish tactics surprised Gatland but it was bad day at the office for Welsh

Disappointing day: Warren Gatland with Wales captain Sam Warburton at the post-match press conference

Though thoroughly disappointed at his own side's performance, Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted Ireland deserved their victory. Unsurprisingly, though, it was not unqualified praise.

"It's probably one of the most disappointing performances I've been involved in since I've been Welsh coach. It was a bad day at the office and it sometimes happens," he said.

"Take nothing way from Ireland because they were outstanding.

"Ireland played very effective rugby. They played in close, they were very competitive at the breakdown. What were the kicking stats – 37 to 21? They've kicked the leather off it, but it's been effective," Gatland said.

"They played a lot of one-pass rugby and sometimes in the past we've been criticised for not playing rugby and we've gone out to move the ball around.

"But that said I'm not making excuses, the performance wasn't good enough. Ireland deserved to win."

Gatland admitted to being surprised by the Irish tactics, his expectation having been that they would run the ball more.

"Yeah, possibly (surprised). Yeah, I think that was effective. I can't remember any occasion where they've moved the ball through the backline to try and attack, so it was certainly effective. Like I said, they've dominated us up front and we need to take that on the chin."

He was critical of his own side's indiscipline which saw 17 penalties conceded.

"We have a target of 10 or less, so 17 is not acceptable," Gatland said.

Lauding man of the match Peter O'Mahony's contribution, the Welsh coach said: "I thought he was good the last couple of times I saw him play, he's excellent on the ball.

"You can never underestimate the passion that any Munster player brings to the side – the way he sings the national anthem and wears his heart on his sleeve – and he's playing exceptionally well at the moment. He's captain of his province now so I'm very impressed with him."

And he had words of encouragement for Ireland as a result of their victory over his side.

"Whoever won today was going to go on with the upper hand. They've had two home games and have two tough ones away in France and England, but this tournament is all about building momentum and they have that at the moment," he said.

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