Gat­land says Aus­tralia not ‘mon­key on back’ of Welsh

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - By Tom Cary

Wales head coach War­ren Gat­land de­nied that beat­ing Aus­tralia in Cardiff next Satur­day would be a “mon­key off the back” of his team af­ter 13 suc­ces­sive de­feats against the Wallabies, say­ing it was more im­por­tant to win next year’s pool game at the Rugby World Cup. But the Kiwi, speak­ing af­ter yes­ter­day’s vic­tory over Scot­land, con­ceded that a win would be a big boost to his squad as they con­tinue their prepa­ra­tions for Ja­pan 2019.

Gat­land de­clared him­self sat­is­fied with yes­ter­day’s re­sult. “It’s a start,” he said. “We were a bit rusty at times but we de­fended well. It’s nice to get a hit out rather than be­ing thrown in against a south­ern hemi­sphere team com­ing off the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, which is al­ways a tough ask

“There are as­pects of our game that need to im­prove. But there were also lots of pos­i­tives and lots to build on.”

This match was as much about ex­per­i­men­ta­tion as any­thing else, with a num­ber of play­ers miss­ing for both teams as it fell out­side of the in­ter­na­tional win­dow. Gareth An­scombe, mak­ing a rare start at fly-half, was one of those play­ers who was deemed to have had a big op­por­tu­nity to make a case for con­tin­ued se­lec­tion.

Gat­land said he was happy with the New Zealand-born player’s per­for­mance. “He at­tacked the line, put some play­ers into some holes,” he said. “The pass for Jonathan [Davies] was good for his try. We were pleased with him.”

Wales next host an Aus­tralia side who have won the last 13 clashes be­tween the sides, but who have had an in­dif­fer­ent 2018, fin­ish­ing third in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

With Tonga and South Africa also vis­it­ing the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium be­fore the end of the month, Gat­land said he his team had a great op­por­tu­nity to lift their con­fi­dence.

“It’s not about get­ting the mon­key off the back,” he said of Wales’ record against Aus­tralia. “There are games where we’ve been lead­ing go­ing into the fi­nal min­utes. Un­for­tu­nately, we’ve been un­lucky at times but it would be nice to win next week and get a re­sult.

“The more im­por­tant game will be the pool game at the World Cup. If you win your pool then you put your­self on the side of the draw which might be a bit eas­ier. So yes, from a con­fi­dence point of view, it would be good.

“They [Aus­tralia] have their own pres­sures from back home and they need per­for­mances and re­sults too.”

Scot­land coach Gre­gor Townsend con­ceded that his team needed to do “bet­ter de­fen­sively”. Cen­tre Huw Jones had an af­ter­noon to for­get, slip­ping off two tack­les which led to tries. But Townsend said his team also needed to be more clin­i­cal in at­tack.

Sat­is­fied: War­ren Gat­land said there were lots of pos­i­tives to build on

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.