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We were lucky - Gatland

Wales boss Warren Gatland admitted his team "got out of jail" after they claimed a dramatic RBS 6 Nations victory over shell-shocked Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

The visitors triumphed 23-21, courtesy of Leigh Halfpenny's 80th-minute penalty, which was awarded when Irish flanker Stephen Ferris tip-tackled Ian Evans. Ferris received a yellow card, as did Wales lock Bradley Davies earlier in the game, although Davies' tackle on Donacha Ryan was far more serious and looks certain to see him cited and banned.

"We were reasonably lucky. I thought we were only at about 70%," said Gatland.

"But to come here and be under pressure and to come back with 14 men shows great character. The displeasing thing was a bit of a lack of discipline with the yellow card. We got out of jail, but we've won our first game of the tournament away from home.

"We were down at half-time in the World Cup against Samoa, but we kept our patience and finished on top of them. That is what Test match rugby is all about - taking your opportunities."

Gatland felt Davies was lucky to only get a yellow card, and admitted he fears the worst in terms of a citing. Wales are already without the services of injured locks Luke Charteris and Alun-Wyn Jones, so any period of suspension for Davies could hit second-row resources hard.

"We've got to plan, potentially, for him being cited," Gatland added. "I've seen a replay, and I won't deny it wasn't fantastic. Potentially, we have got to prepare for the worst.

"When you go behind with 15 minutes to go and you have a yellow card, you don't have a lot of time to get back into the game. But this win has given us massive confidence, and we are dangerous when we are playing with belief and confidence. We know there is a lot of improvement in our game."

Gatland hailed a "world-class" performance by wing George North, who scored one of Wales' three tries, while he had sympathy for fly-half Rhys Priestland, who missed two easy penalty kicks.

"We shouldn't have put so much pressure on Rhys with the kicks. He has been out (injured) for a few weeks. It is such a confidence role, but I thought he was excellent in the second half," said Gatland.


From Belfast Telegraph