WALES coach Warren Gatland has hit out at critics who labelled his team predictable in the wake of Saturday’s Six Nations drubbing in Dublin, writes Andrew Penman.
Gatland and his players are licking their wounds at their Vale of Glamorgan training base this week following the comprehensive 26-3 defeat to Ireland.
In the wake of the loss, Wales’ fourth in their last seven Tests, and a disappointing performance in victory over Italy in the Six Nations opener Gatland was in combative mood at yesterday’s press conference.
“When you lose games the critics out there come and say they think they know the way we play but we played differently in both games,” argued the New Zealander.
“We haven’t gone in with the same game plan against Italy as we did against Ireland.
“People wanted to be critical and say ‘where’s your plan B?’ but we didn’t even execute plan A.
“If you get those things wrong in terms of the areas we were dominated then A or B or Z wouldn’t have made any difference to the result.”
Gatland admits that the Dublin display was not up to scratch but says basic errors were to blame rather than tactics.
“I’m not sure I would have done a lot differently,” he added.
“It’s a performance that was below par and we’ve tried to be as honest as we can as players and coaches after the game.
“We’re not looking to blame anyone, just looking at our performance collectively as a group.
“Every now and again you have a performance that is poor and it’s how you respond to that.
“We just didn’t play well enough and I’ve been pleased with the response of the players so far, pleased with the attitude because we need to take collective responsibility.
“We’ve set really high standards for ourselves as a team and we’ve achieved a lot as a group of players but we’re not hiding away from the fact that we didn’t represent Wales as a nation as well as we should have.”
And with ten days to regroup before France come to the Millennium Stadium on Friday, February 21, Gatland is confident that Wales can still enjoy a successful defence of their title.
“I think we can go into that French game at home with a certain amount of confidence that we can win,” he said.
“It’s a confidence boost for them to win their first two games but for us it’s a massive game.”