Warren Gatland Moves Close To New Low Point As Pressure Mounts Ahead Of Potential Ninth Wales Defeat

Warren Gatland, head coach of Wales. Pic: Getty Images.

Warren Gatland Moves Close To New Low Point As Pressure Mounts Ahead Of Potential Ninth Wales Defeat

By Paul Jones

Warren Gatland could find himself moving into unchartered waters in Melbourne next week when his Wales team attempt to break a run of eight successive defeats.

The 25-16 loss to the new look Wallabies in Sydney meant Gatland equalled his worse run as Wales head coach.

His side are now without a win since last year’s World Cup and face a return game against Australia this weekend, and then autumn Tests against Fiji, Australia and South Africa to try to salvage a win this year.

Gatland had gone to Australia, having been given a public vote of confidence from WRU chief executive Abi Tierney, who claimed the New Zealander was meeting all his targets on the road to the next World Cup.

But in the same breath, the woman who once ran the Passport Office admitted there might be a time when it was necessary to stamp Gatland’s exit papers if Wales’ short-term failures undermine the long plan plan.

Twice during his first term in charge, when his men won three Grand Slams, one more Six Nations title, reached No 1 in the world rankings for the first time in 2019 amid a record run of 14 wins and reached two World Cup semi-finals, Wales failed to win a game in eight matches.

There was a 16-16 draw with Fiji in the first fallow run from 2010-11.

Out of that emerged the team that were World Cup semi-finalists and went on to win the Grand Slam in 2012.

The second run of eight successive defeats came in 2012-13 in the wake of that Grand Slam triumph. Gatland wasn’t in charge for all of those games due to injury and his involvement of with the British & Irish Lions, Rob Howley stepping in as interim coach for five of the matches.

The eight defeats in a row mean Wales have dropped to their lowest place in World Rugby’s ranking since they were created in 2003, slipping to 11th and outside the top 10 for the first time.

Defeat in Melbourne would take the tally to nine defeats, but Gatland is sticking to his guns by saying the pain is a necessary process to go through to build a team capable of reaching the knock-out stages of the 2027 World Cup back in Australia.

“I’ve been through these things in the past. Once you get across the line, you can start turning close games into wins – we’ve just got to keep working hard,” he said after the latest defeat in Sydney.

“We know where we are at the moment. We’re going to have to develop this team and they’ll need to learn from these experiences.

“I understand you are going to get pressure from people talking about a losing run at the moment.

“But in that run we have been in games, been in front and easily could have won a few, and tonight was the same.

“A bit more accuracy, decisions which go your way and you win. Those are big moments that we need to learn from to make sure that in those tight matches where it is an arm-wrestle you end up on the winning side.

“I think we hurt ourselves with a number of turnovers, and the penalty count early on. Soft penalties hurt us.”

Wales had a second-half try from replacement James Botham disallowed for obstruction, which appeared a marginal call from the officials.

“I need to get some clarity on the disallowed try from the maul, and we are where we are at the moment,” Gatland added.

“We are not getting any 50-50 calls and we just have to work through that.

“I thought there were some real positives out there in terms of what we are trying to do.

“There were some real positives out there in terms of what we are trying to do. We’ve said all along that we are trying to build this team.

“We are showing some glimpses and I hope people can see what we are trying to do looking towards the next World Cup. I know there is going to be pressure because of the losing run at the moment, but we’ve been in games, been in front in games in that time.

“They are the big moments we need to learn from and ensuring that when it’s an arm wrestle you end up on the winning side of the scoreboard.”

Another world renowned Kiwi coach, Sir Steve Hansen is the holder of the Welsh coach with the worst run of defeats at 10.

They came in 2002-03 and included two reverses against the All Blacks team he would go on to lead to a World Cup title in 2015.



2010-11 P 8 W 0 D 1 L 7

5 Jun 2010: Wales 31 – 34 South Africa (Millennium Stadium)   

19 Jun 2010: New Zealand 42 – 9 Wales (Carisbrook)

26 Jun 2010: New Zealand 29 – 10 Wales (Waikato Stadium)

6 Nov 2010: Wales 16 – 25 Australia (Millennium Stadium)        

13 Nov 2010: Wales 25 – 29 South Africa (Millennium Stadium)

19 Nov 2010: Wales 16 – 16 Fiji (Millennium Stadium)

27 Nov 2010: Wales 25 – 37 New Zealand (Millennium Stadium)

4 Feb 2011: Wales 19 – 26 England (Millennium Stadium)          


2012-13 P 8 W 0 D 0 L 8

9 Jun 2012: Australia 27 – 19 Wales (Lang Park) *

16 Jun 2012: Australia 25 – 23 Wales (Docklands Stadium) *

23 Jun 2012: Australia 20 – 19 Wales (Sydney Football Stadium) *

10 Nov 2012: Wales 12 – 26 Argentina (Millennium Stadium) *

16 Nov 2012: Wales 19 – 26 Samoa (Millennium Stadium) *

24 Nov 2012: Wales 10 – 33 New Zealand (Millennium Stadium)

1 Dec 2012: Wales 12 – 14 Australia (Millennium Stadium)

2 Feb 2013: Wales 22 – 30 Ireland (Millennium Stadium) *

* Rob Howley Interim Head Coach


2002-2003 P 10 W 0 D 0 L 10

23 Nov 2002: New Zealand 17–43  New Zealand (Millennium Stadium)

15 Feb 2003: Italy 30 – 22 Wales (Stadio Flaminio)

22 Feb 2003: Wales 9 – 26 England (Millennium Stadium)

8 Mar 2003: Scotland 30 – 22 Wales (Murrayfield Stadium)

22 Mar 2003: Wales 24 – 25 Ireland (Millennium Stadium)

29 Mar 2003: France 33 – 5 Wales (Stade de France)

14 Jun 2003: Australia 30 – 10 Wales (Stadium Australia)

21 Jun 2003: New Zealand 55 – 3 Wales (Waikato Stadium)

16 Aug 2003: Ireland 35 – 12 Wales (Lansdowne Road)

23 Aug 2003: Wales 9 – 43 England (Millennium Stadium)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.