‘ A knock to the face doesn’t mean you’re concussed’
Relieved to have started an autumn campaign with a win at last, Warren Gatland dismissed the notion that next Saturday’s assignment against Australia represents an opportunity to shake off another hex. The last time Wales beat Australia was 10 years and 13 matches ago.
“I don’t look at that,” he said. “There have been games when we’ve been leading going into the fi nal minute and conceded a try or a penalty. If you look at the points difference in those games, there’s been nothing in it. It would be nice to get a result but the more important game is going to be at the World Cup.”
Wales ha d not opened their autumn with a win since they beat Romania in 2002 but Gatland is not inclined to read too much into that, either. “If we’d come up against Australia today we would have struggled, just with them having come off the Rugby Championship. That’s why we have struggled a little bit , because the fi rst game of the autumn has tended to be against New Zealand, South Africa or Australia.”
Ken Owens, Wales’s hooker, took a nasty blow to the head towards the end of the fi rst half, when he collided with Ryan Wilson as the two went for the ball , but Gatland gave short shrift to the inquests on social media. “Ken is fi ne,” he said. “He has taken a knock on the nose, which was a bleed, and we did an HIA [ head injury assessment] as a precaution. He passed that and another after the game. Just because you get a knock to the face it doesn’t mean you’re concussed.”
Gregor Townsend, Scotland’s coach, was not discouraged by his team’s performance, citing his side’s lack of precision as the main difference between the teams, Wales taking their two clear chances, Scotland denied twice by the TMO. But for Scotland, as for so many, the game had a broader dimension. “I looked up a couple of times,” he said, “and Doddie [ Weir] was on the big screen. The reaction he got from the crowd was tremendous. We put a huge effort into winning that game, that trophy. We did all we could.”