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Warren Gatland Accuses Wales Players Of Ignoring The World Cup Plan

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By David Williams

WARREN Gatland has accused some Wales players of not doing their jobs properly as he hinted a few may already have missed out on World Cup selection.

The Wales coach has suggested there will be repercussions for tournament selection after Wales surrendered a strong position in slumping to a 19-17 defeat by England at Twickenham at the weekend.

The hosts had been reduced to 12 men after Owen Farrell’s yellow card was upgraded to a red by the ‘Bunker’ review system at a time when Freddie Steward and Ellis Genge were sat in the sin-bin.

Wales led 17-9 but against the odds England scored the next try when Maro Itoje rounded off a maul before George Ford landed a conversion and penalty to seal a come-from-behind victory.

“We capitulated in terms of our accuracy and with some guys not knowing their roles. For me that was disappointing because we’ve spent a lot of time ensuring there is clarity and everyone knows their roles,” said Gatland.

“We gave away some soft penalties where we piggy-backed them up the field and gave them those chances. We’ll have learnt a lot from that.”

“The game management in that final quarter wasn’t good enough. We should have been comfortable.

“It was a big moment not taking the kick-off and giving England back a bit of momentum by not clearing our line, allowing them to score from that and get back into the game. That was disappointing.

“I’m furious we didn’t win the game, but it answered a few questions for us about certain individuals.”

Wales’ inability to close out their first victory at Twickenham since 2015 completed a largely promising double-header against England that began with a solid 20-9 win in Cardiff.

Gatland has one last warm-up game to finalise selection for the World Cup, with South Africa visiting the Principality Stadium two days before he unveils his 33-man squad.

Dangerous Fiji are their opening opponents in France next month and Wales’ boss believes his players are being sufficiently battle-hardened.

“There are still some players we need to find out about and potentially give an opportunity to,” Gatland said.

“You couldn’t ask for better warm-up matches in terms of the physicality we are looking for, with England home and away and then South Africa.

“It’s going to be the same sort of test up-front against South Africa and we need to take the learnings from Twickenham.”

Wales are waiting for fitness updates on Dewi Lake and Taine Plumtree who suffered respective knee and shoulder injuries.

Taine Basham failed an HIA after being struck by a dangerous tackle by England captain Owen Farrell.

Dan Biggar has revealed what he said to Farrell after the England captain’s tackle on Basham.

Farrell took exception to what his Welsh counterpart had to say, with the pair exchanging verbals before the England skipper was shown a yellow card.

The TMO bunker upgraded Farrell’s yellow to a red card during the off-field review, and the fly-half now faces a potential suspension that could rule him out of England’s Rugby World Cup pool stage matches.

Biggar was displeased by the way Farrell spoke to him after he aired his views on the tackle.

“I really like Owen Farrell as a bloke, but I wasn’t going to allow him to speak to me like he did at Twickenham on Saturday night, which is why we had a spat,” Biggar wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

“I’ve got no issue with Owen – we’ve been team-mates with the Lions – but he made it personal by coming at me in the second half at Twickenham.

“‘Stop complaining’, was what Farrell said in my direction, just after he’d hit Taine Basham high. I thought it was a clear red card and was just airing my view.”

“I told Farrell that people are allowed to have a go at him.

“He’s not above everyone else. Owen is such a competitive guy, just like I am, and it was a heat-of-the-moment incident.”

Farrell’s ban could see him miss England’s pool stage matches at the Rugby World Cup.

While Biggar was pleased that the officials came to the correct decision at Twickenham, he added that the tournament would be ‘poorer’ without Farrell.

“As much as we went head-to-head at Twickenham, the World Cup will be all the poorer if Owen is forced to be on the sidelines,” Biggar added. “It will be a big blow to England.

“I think our flashpoint became a big thing because England were on the ropes at the time. They were under pressure after what was a pretty poor first half. That’s probably putting it kindly!

“It was a very, very ugly game of rugby, and it was absolute carnage at the end with all the cards!

“It was crazy on the pitch, with lots of disruption and not much control to the game.

“There were six cards in total, four for England and two for Wales but I’ll admit I definitely lost count at one point!”

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