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Wales lock Luke Charteris: We've come up short this year

Lock Luke Charteris feels a potential runners-up finish in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship offers scant consolation for Wales.

The Racing 92 forward acknowledged that second spot would be an improvement on last term, when Wales ended up third in the table, but Saturday's 25-21 defeat against newly crowned champions England ended their title hopes.

Wales will secure second position if they beat Italy at the Principality Stadium next Saturday.

Asked if second place would see the current Six Nations campaign regarded as a successful one, Charteris said: "No, because we were trying to win it.

"But if we come second, it's one (place) better than last year. Every year we go into the championship trying to win and with the confidence that we can. We've come up short this year - we will go again next year."

Charteris and his colleagues faced a Twickenham debrief at their Vale of Glamorgan training base on Monday, and it was likely to be painful.

Wales trailed 19-0 and 25-7 against England, while an uncharacteristic 19 missed tackles during the first half accelerated their demise.

"It was a bad day at the office for us - there is no hiding away from that," he added.

"We went out there with a goal to win the game and give us a chance to play Italy at home with a chance of winning the championship. That didn't happen, and there are a lot of disappointed boys because of that.

"There were one or two things in that first half that we will have to address and change. That's for us this week to have a look at, look back at the videos and work hard, because we have a really big game on Saturday again.

"We lost a Test match, but the environment we have is always very honest. If the boys play well, they will get praised and be told they played well, and if they play badly, we will be told we played badly.

"All the boys know we didn't perform as well as we could and should have performed, because we lost the game, so I don't think there will be any surprises in the review. We will take it on the chin and learn from it.

"I can promise you that going into the game, the boys were highly motivated because if we had won that game we would have had the opportunity to come back to Cardiff on the last weekend of the Six Nations knowing that a win would see us win the championship.

"Obviously, it didn't go how we wanted it to go in the game.

"I wish there was a simple answer, but it's certainly not a lack of emotion or anything like that. We didn't transfer that preparation and state of how we were feeling into the performance, and that is what we have to address."

Charteris is widely expected to return to the starting line-up that will face Italy - scrum-half Rhys Webb and hooker Ken Owens are also among those tipped for call-ups - as Wales play their penultimate fixture before a three-Test summer tour of New Zealand.

Italy are already consigned to the Six Nations wooden spoon, and they have conceded 157 points and 20 tries in the tournament so far, including a 58-15 drubbing by Ireland two days ago.

"I was surprised at the (Ireland) score, because in the first few games I have watched them (Italy) they have been really good and very competitive," Charteris said.

"They will obviously be very disappointed and will come here highly motivated.

"At the end of the day, it is an international game and there will be no lack of motivation from their side of things, and I am sure coming off a defeat like that - as we are - both teams will want to go out there and right some wrongs."


From Belfast Telegraph