We Will Become A Bloody Good Team In Time: Wales Coach Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland and his Wales players at Twickenham. Pic: Getty Images.

We Will Become A Bloody Good Team In Time: Wales Coach Warren Gatland

By David Williams

Warren Gatland insists Wales will become a good team in time, despite no victories so far in this season’s Six Nations.

A 16-14 defeat to England at Twickenham – after Gatland’s men had led 14-5 – means Wales have now lost nine out of their last 10 matches in the tournament.

Seven of those 10 games have been under the New Zealander in his second stint in charge, but Gatland remains upbeat that his young side will soon gain more than just plaudits and pats on the back.

 “It’s pretty disappointing really,” he said after Wales followed defeat to Scotland with a familiar defeat at Twickenham, with matches against Ireland and France to follow.

“I’m proud of the performance and the effort of the players out there, but we’re disappointed we didn’t come away with the win.

“It’s part of the journey we’re on in terms of developing as a team. I said to the players we’re not there yet but we’re going to be a bloody good team going forward.

“And this was part of that process in terms of learning about game management. 

“I’m really proud of the effort. We felt really good at half-time and didn’t feel under pressure. On a few occasions we didn’t get the rub of the green in the second half and that’s rugby.”

George Ford’s late penalty ensured England overturned a nine-point deficit to make it two wins from two for their own young side.

Wales scored through a penalty try and an Alex Mann score in the first half, with Ioan Lloyd adding a conversion for a 14-5 lead.

But they couldn’t score a single point in the second period despite some promising openings, as scrum penalties against them proved crucial.

England’s tries came via No.8 Ben Earl and centre Fraser Dingwall, but they saw Ollie Chessum (high tackle) and Ethan Roots (maul collapse) sin-binned in the first half, while Ford saw a conversion controversially charged down.

Ford added two penalties for the lead at a relieved Twickenham as Wales’ Mason Grady was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on during a scrappy second-half.

The result means England sit top of the Six Nations table after two matches, ahead of Ireland facing Italy on Sunday. 

Wales remain fifth after picking up a losing bonus point.

Gatland added: “My message for the Welsh public is to have a bit of patience.

“Hopefully people on the outside can see what we’re trying to do as a squad.

“We’ve got a spectrum of players. Some players are incredibly young and finding their feet, while some players are in for the experience.

“I’m excited by this group. I just think what we’ve shown in the last couple of weeks, we know it’s things that will make us a lot better and we will improve.

“We’ve got a group of youngsters and our role as coaches is to make them better and learn from those experiences.

“They’ve made a massive amount of progress in a few weeks.

“We came here today without any fear and a lot of confidence we could win the game. Unfortunately, we fell a little short. 

“The fact we’re playing a quality side in Ireland next up, it will be a level up.”

Wales next play Ireland in Dublin on February 24, before hosting France on March 10 and then Italy on March 16.

“The boys are desperate to get a win,” added Gatland.

“Probably the challenge for us is just how important winning is. A number of players are coming from regional teams that haven’t had a lot of success.

“They’ve probably got used to not having that ‘W’ next to their name after performances. That’s why, for us, it’s important we start doing that and be positive about doing that.

“One of the great things about playing for Wales is, having spoke to a number of players, when they come into this environment, they come in with confidence believing they’re good enough to win.

“We’ve just got to keep building on that and one of these games will bring that.”

England are in a similar rebuilding phase as Wales, but after a narrow win over Italy in Rome, they are unbeaten after two rounds of the tournament under coach Steve Borthwick, who also led them to the World Cup semi-finals.

Borthwick said: “The first thing we can take from that is we’re a team that stays in the fight and finds a way.

“Was there improvements in that from last weekend? Yes there was, and it shows the work we’re doing and the players are doing each day is paying dividends.

“But the biggest lesson here is the trait the players are developing in themselves: which is they stay in the fight.

“You look at that first half and the team did a lot of good things. Disappointingly, we had a penalty count which was 6-0 at half-time, and two sin-bins.

“Ultimately, and having put up with all that, we’re then 7-5 down on the scoreboard on 38 minutes and realistically could have been level at 7-7.

“Wales then scored a great try, and with the amount we had to defend being with 13 men, what I sensed at half-time was calm, composed, great leadership from Jamie [George] and a determination to find a way in the second half.

“We were well aware of what the situation was in that first half, we were well aware of that decision [George Ford charged conversion]. We conceded one penalty in the second half, we found a way.”


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.