Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

We should have defended better - Gatland

Warren Gatland's side conceded a last-minute try against Australia

A "gutted" Warren Gatland felt his Wales side had been made to pay for their naivety as they suffered more heartbreak at the hands of Australia in a 14-12 defeat in Cardiff.

Four penalties from Leigh Halfpenny, who was carried off on a stretcher at the end of the game and has gone to hospital for scans on his neck, looked to have given Wales victory over the Wallabies as they led 12-9 with time running out. But Kurtley Beale, who scored all Australia's points, raced onto a Dave Dennis pass to cross in the corner with just 26 seconds remaining.

"We are pretty gutted," said Gatland. "I thought apart from the last minute, we played some outstanding rugby today. It was a close, tight Test match, which you expect. We put ourselves in a position where we should have won."

And the New Zealander accepted his side had only themselves to blame for this latest reverse - Wales' seventh in a row.

He added: "The disappointing thing for me is we turned over a line-out and it was obvious Australia were going to run the ball from behind the goal-line and we allowed them to get 30 metres from that and release a bit of pressure. We should have had guys in the front line and defended that a bit better.

"Also in the last couple of plays we had people hanging back so it was a bit of naivety. It was a tough match and it was disappointing.

"We haven't spoken to the players yet but I would want to know what was our communication at the last scrum. They were set up to move the ball and we had to make sure they did not get out of their 22.

"I am not sure we communicated or spoke but until I speak to the players I am not sure."

Australia coach Robbie Deans praised his side's character as they rounded off a 15-Test season on a winning note, saying: "It was a great game as all of our encounters with Wales have been this year. It was a great Test match to finish the year on, it had everything.

"Credit to the lads for even being in the game at the end, they have had a huge year and that was a fast and physical game, so to be in the game at the end was credit to them, but to get up to win it was even better."

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