Coach hails Welsh re­silience

New Straits Times - - Sport -

CARDIFF: Wales rugby coach Rob How­ley hailed his side’s re­silience af­ter they re­bounded from backto-back Six Na­tions de­feats to beat Ire­land 22-9 on Fri­day.

The vic­tory en­sured Wales would stay in the top eight of the World Rugby rank­ings and avoid a po­ten­tial hor­ror draw for the next World Cup in Ja­pan.

They had lost their pre­vi­ous Six Na­tions clashes against Scot­land and Eng­land and were in dan­ger of slip­ping down the rank­ings but How­ley said they had been deter­mined not to make it three de­feats in a row.

“We knew there would be a reaction and against one of the best sides in rugby you have to play like that both with and with­out the ball,” he said.

“I’m de­lighted for the play­ers, they have taken a lot of stick and we beat Ire­land em­phat­i­cally. I thought it was an out­stand­ing per­for­mance. We wanted an 80 minute dis­play.”

How­ley said his side could have tried to hide af­ter the last two de­feats but in­stead they stood up to be counted.

“We feel we should have beaten Eng­land out here,” he added of last month’s 21-16 loss. “In­ter­na­tional rugby is about those fine mar­gins and you can come up short. The play­ers have been out­stand­ing since the Scot­land game.

“They have been very hon­est in their ap­praisal of the first 15-20 min­utes in the sec­ond half. They wanted to go out in front of the best sup­port­ers in world rugby and give a per­for­mance they could be proud of and they cer­tainly did that.

“They de­serve a lot of credit for what’s hap­pened over the last cou­ple of weeks. They haven’t got the re­sults in the pre­vi­ous two games but now they de­serve ev­ery­thing they get.

“From our point of view, we dug deep when we needed to with­out the ball and we were clin­i­cal when we needed to be with­out the ball,” How­ley added.

Wales con­clude their cam­paign in Paris against France next Satur­day.

AFP PIC

English ref­eree Wayne Barnes (sec­ond from left) pe­nalises Ire­land's cen­tre Rob­bie Hen­shaw (third from left) for not join­ing the maul legally and gives a penalty to Wales in their Six Na­tions match at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium in Cardiff on Fri­day.

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