Gatland urged to keep the faith in beaten Welsh pack
10:17pm Monday 10th February 2014 in Sport
A CALM response to the debacle in Dublin was never likely but Wales have been urged not to panic by ripping up the script and starting again.
The pack is in the firing line after being dismantled by Ireland's front eight in a 26-3 defeat at the Aviva Stadium that dealt a huge blow to hopes of a third successive Six Nations triumph.
There has been much talk of a Plan B being needed but it was the execution of head coach Warren Gatland's power game – which has won successive titles – that let them down so badly.
That was down to their forwards being hammered by their Irish counterparts and has prompted questions about the future of experienced props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, the fitness of skipper Sam Warburton and the form of chop-tackling blindside Dan Lydiate.
Those same questions pondered by the Welsh rugby public are being asked at Wales' Vale of Glamorgan headquarters.
"We were well beaten up front, weren't we?" said Gatland. "We'd spoken all week about discipline and we gave away 17 penalties.
"We worked hard all week on maul-defence and I think they scored 20 points from mauling us.
"We probably need to look at some individuals and give it a shake up.
"And we'll look to see if we need to do that or give those players we selected an opportunity to redeem themselves."
And Lloyd Burns, who played alongside the pack at the 2011 World Cup, believes the second option is the best one – it's time to stick with his former teammates.
He believes that if Gatland keeps the faith then he will reap the rewards against the French at the Millennium Stadium a week on Friday.
"It's always the way, when you are winning everyone thinks that you are world-beaters and when you lose they think everything needs to change," said the former Newport Gwent Dragons hooker.
"They were very poor against Ireland, who were superb tactically, but they have not become a bad side overnight.
"Sometimes change is a good thing but I don't think there are too many options, although I would like to see James Hook come in at 10.
"Warren gets paid the wages he does to make these calls and I am sure if he sticks with the players then they will come back at France.
"They need to up their game but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will. Things have gone so well with two titles in a row but now they need to stand up after a defeat."
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