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Gareth Davies expects bruising Wales debrief after England defeat

Gareth Davies expects a painful Monday morning debrief when Wales pick through the bones of an unedifying Twickenham sight that left them unrecognisable as serious RBS 6 Nations title contenders.

There will be no hiding place for Davies and company, having seen their hopes of Six Nations silverware ruthlessly destroyed by an England team far quicker in thought and deed.

Six months earlier, scrum-half Davies' spectacular second-half try underpinned a thrilling World Cup victory for Wales over their fiercest rivals.

This time, though, England proved to be the team that delivered as Wales wilted horribly under a sustained onslaught from Red Rose heroes like Maro Itoje, Ben Youngs, Mike Brown and Chris Robshaw.

"After that (World Cup) game, it was one of the biggest highs of my career so far," Davies said.

"To be honest, the way I am feeling right now, this is probably one of the biggest lows of my career so far.

"That's rugby for you. I will try to put it behind me in the next day or two, and we start to prepare for Italy on Monday.

"It's going to be tough. Coming in on Monday morning, there are going to be a few harsh words said.

"I am sure we will look back on this game, especially the first half, and we are going to see where we went wrong and hopefully put a few things right.

"The first-half performance wasn't good enough from us. We will have a look back on Monday and analyse the game, but we were just too slow in the first half. There was no fire there. It was flat.

"We said on the pitch that we needed a bit more urgency, a bit of fire about us, but there was just nothing happening."

Wales head coach Warren Gatland did not hold back with his thoughts during the half-time interval, while defence specialist Shaun Edwards can be expected to address the players in a no-holds-barred fashion after they missed a startling 19 first-half tackles.

"Gats said he had been thinking of making a few changes in the first half," Davies added.

"We all had to pull our socks up, really. It wasn't a very nice place to be at half-time.

"He said a couple of harsh words, and it just made us think. Like I said, the first half wasn't good enough.

"Our defence wasn't good enough. We spoke about bringing a lot of line speed to shut down some of their outside backs, the likes of (Owen) Farrell and (Jonathan) Joseph. We couldn't afford to give them time on the ball.

"We didn't have any line speed, there were no collisions. They had too much gain-line and fast ball, and Ben Youngs had a nice day behind his pack. They ran the show really well.

"We pride ourselves on our defence. Shaun Edwards is a fantastic defence coach, but we let ourselves down and we let him down as well."

Lock Alun-Wyn Jones, who looks likely to captain his country against Italy if Sam Warburton does not recover in time from concussion, denied the defeat was potentially a watershed moment for Wales.

But there is no doubt it will be a major setback for Gatland and his players ahead of facing England again at Twickenham on May 29, which is immediately followed by a New Zealand tour and three Tests against the world champion All Blacks.

"I wouldn't say it's a watershed. I think it's a realisation of a pretty tough season, but that is no excuse," Jones said.

"In fairness to England, they played really well and the tackle contest shows the momentum they had, and they took that.

"It's very easy to tell other people to do their job, but ultimately we are professionals and every individual has to rely upon themselves and be sure of themselves.

"To a point, we didn't do that as individuals, and then obviously you splinter as a side.

"There is another (Six Nations) game left, and it wouldn't surprise me if changes are made. But in saying that, the guys who had a poor first half will want the opportunity to put that right. It will be interesting to see if that happens or not."

And asked about England's resurgence under their Australian head coach Eddie Jones, the 98 times-capped Wales forward added: "I remember that I was in the (Wales) team that was knocked out of the pool stages of the 2007 World Cup.

"Then a new coach (Gatland) came in and we had a Grand Slam in 2008.

"Is history repeating itself? Yes, more than likely. These things happen, and congratulations to them (England) on a stellar performance."


From Belfast Telegraph