Rob Howley reflects on horror show

First published in Wales rugby

WALES interim head coach Rob Howley described his side's desperate display against Samoa as "not up to international standard" after a demoralising 26-19 defeat at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales were awful in defeat to Argentina last weekend, and there was no improvement here from the Six Nations champions, who now face the ominous task of meeting world champions New Zealand in seven days' time.

Leigh Halfpenny kicked four penalties and converted Ashley Beck's first-half interception score, but it was not enough as Samoa gained revenge for their World Cup reverse of 13 months' ago.

The writing had been on the wall when Fa'atoina Autagavaia crossed for the visitors after just 64 seconds, with second-half tries from George Pisi and Johnny Leota sealing the win and Tusi Pisi kicking 11 points.

Wales could hardly claim to have been caught unawares by Samoa; the previous two meetings between the sides had seen them scrape home by 17-10 and 17-13 verdicts.

The result leaves Wales in real danger of slipping out of the top-eight in the IRB world rankings, which could leave them facing a nightmare draw for the 2015 World Cup. A win for Scotland over South Africa on Saturday will drop Wales to ninth.

Howley said: "I have spoken to the players and we are obviously disappointed as a coaching team and group of players.

"International rugby is about discipline and when we created opportunities in the game, although we did not have many, we were disappointed in terms of our top-three inches at times.

"We were outperformed by a Samoa side whose ability to keep the ball better than us was the most disappointing aspect of the performance.

"We did not have control of possession or in terms of the contact area and that (performance) is obviously not international standard."

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will return to take the reins next week, but the Kiwi faces a huge task to turn around Wales' alarming demise before the All Blacks arrive in town.

On this evidence it is difficult to see Wales having any hope of living with Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and company.

But Howley believes the challenge ahead represents an ideal opportunity for Wales to get back on track.

He said: "Over the last 12 months we have been to the World Cup semi-finals and won a Grand Slam. We have had the highs and now we are going through a low.

"We have to bounce back and rugby gives you an opportunity.

"This group of players have been outstanding in training, but when we cross that white line our skills are not up to scratch of international rugby at this moment in time, but we will keep working hard and keep working smart and we will stick together.

"We have two good games against New Zealand and Australia to come and it is something to look forward to."

Wales may also be counting the cost of further injuries after hooker Richard Hibbard, fly-half Dan Biggar (both shoulder) and lock Ian Evans (knee).

The manner of the injuries suffered by Hibbard and Biggar may yet occupy the attention of citing commissioner Paul Minto.

Hibbard was felled by a crunching tackle from the outstanding Taiasina Tu'ifua, in which the Newcastle number eight did not appear to use his arms, and eventually forced off to have his arm put in a sling.

Biggar, meanwhile, was on the end of a reckless challenge from Teofilo Paulo, in which the lock led with his head.

Hibbard's replacement Ken Owens was also dragged to ground by the neck by Maurie Fa'asavalu.

With Adam Jones, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Matthew Rees and Jonathan Davies all injury absentees, Wales cannot afford to lose Howley said: "Dan and Richard have taken blows to their shoulders.

"It is not the time to discuss anything, but I don't think they were legal tackles as far as we are concerned having looked at the footage.

"It is disappointing to lose players. Dan and Richard had been given an opportunity and Ian Evans has hurt his knee. But it might give someone an opportunity next week."

Samoa captain David Lemi hailed his side's win, but also accused Wales of being predictable in attack.

The Worcester wing said: "This was a big opportunity for us to have a good ranking before the World Cup draw and credit to the boys today, we came out on top.

"We have been watching Wales since the World Cup. They did the same thing they used in the Six Nations and against Argentina. We knew if you stop their go-forward men, you stop their game.

"If you dominate the scrum and line-out the other side cannot play rugby."

Comments (11)

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11:42am Sat 17 Nov 12

Mervyn James says...

Absolutely shameful Wales never played, apart from Halfpenny who deserved a medal if only because he was the only one that turned up to play. With NZ next week, the writing on the wall looks like 80-0 to them. Wales just caved from the first minute on.
Absolutely shameful Wales never played, apart from Halfpenny who deserved a medal if only because he was the only one that turned up to play. With NZ next week, the writing on the wall looks like 80-0 to them. Wales just caved from the first minute on. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Sat 17 Nov 12

ebbwman1 says...

Woeful, predictable and lacking spark. Two terrible performances by Wales with a head coach with no pedigree. Howley needs to go before he does even more damage. The same squad went to RWC semi final and won grand slam. Howley has turned them into an international joke.
Woeful, predictable and lacking spark. Two terrible performances by Wales with a head coach with no pedigree. Howley needs to go before he does even more damage. The same squad went to RWC semi final and won grand slam. Howley has turned them into an international joke. ebbwman1
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Sat 17 Nov 12

Dai the Milk says...

Who created the stupid pansy regional rugby which churns out soft touch rugby week-in week-out? Howley? Who is destroying those very clubs which have traditionally provided the hard men of Welsh rugby? (Areas like the Gwent and Pontypridd Valleys are being run down in rugby-playing terms). Howley? Who released Gatland at a vital time? Howley? Wake up guys.
Who created the stupid pansy regional rugby which churns out soft touch rugby week-in week-out? Howley? Who is destroying those very clubs which have traditionally provided the hard men of Welsh rugby? (Areas like the Gwent and Pontypridd Valleys are being run down in rugby-playing terms). Howley? Who released Gatland at a vital time? Howley? Wake up guys. Dai the Milk
  • Score: 0

4:17pm Sat 17 Nov 12

Valleymonkey says...

About time the WRU got a kickin' - GO FOR IT BOYS!!
About time the WRU got a kickin' - GO FOR IT BOYS!! Valleymonkey
  • Score: 0

8:48pm Sat 17 Nov 12

emlynkide says...

i would like to know who sorts out these fixtures, because the last team on this earth you would whant to play before the allblacks and aust. is the sams. you know your going to get hamered from all over the park, and pick up injuries with a good chance players could be out for months, is it all about money and to hell with the effect on the players,
i would like to know who sorts out these fixtures, because the last team on this earth you would whant to play before the allblacks and aust. is the sams. you know your going to get hamered from all over the park, and pick up injuries with a good chance players could be out for months, is it all about money and to hell with the effect on the players, emlynkide
  • Score: 0

10:00pm Sat 17 Nov 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

emlynkide wrote:
i would like to know who sorts out these fixtures, because the last team on this earth you would whant to play before the allblacks and aust. is the sams. you know your going to get hamered from all over the park, and pick up injuries with a good chance players could be out for months, is it all about money and to hell with the effect on the players,
Of course it's about money. Use players needed by the regions without having to give anything back. More cash in the WRU account and the regions go to pot. That's how to run Welsh rugby.
[quote][p][bold]emlynkide[/bold] wrote: i would like to know who sorts out these fixtures, because the last team on this earth you would whant to play before the allblacks and aust. is the sams. you know your going to get hamered from all over the park, and pick up injuries with a good chance players could be out for months, is it all about money and to hell with the effect on the players,[/p][/quote]Of course it's about money. Use players needed by the regions without having to give anything back. More cash in the WRU account and the regions go to pot. That's how to run Welsh rugby. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

2:41am Sun 18 Nov 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

Dai the Milk wrote:
Who created the stupid pansy regional rugby which churns out soft touch rugby week-in week-out? Howley? Who is destroying those very clubs which have traditionally provided the hard men of Welsh rugby? (Areas like the Gwent and Pontypridd Valleys are being run down in rugby-playing terms). Howley? Who released Gatland at a vital time? Howley? Wake up guys.
Dai you show how much you fail to understand how rugby in Wales has developed yet again. The players are much tougher now than ten years ago, they are bigger and faster than ten years ago. Just look at the number of players who have injuries and the type of injury. They are likely to suffer in thier later life for the very hard tackling type of play now prominent in rugby. We all know how you hate regional rugby but pray tell us how you pay for ten or eleven professional side which you seem to hanker after. On the Wales front, Howley has made a complete hash of things and should stand down as he is the problem.
[quote][p][bold]Dai the Milk[/bold] wrote: Who created the stupid pansy regional rugby which churns out soft touch rugby week-in week-out? Howley? Who is destroying those very clubs which have traditionally provided the hard men of Welsh rugby? (Areas like the Gwent and Pontypridd Valleys are being run down in rugby-playing terms). Howley? Who released Gatland at a vital time? Howley? Wake up guys.[/p][/quote]Dai you show how much you fail to understand how rugby in Wales has developed yet again. The players are much tougher now than ten years ago, they are bigger and faster than ten years ago. Just look at the number of players who have injuries and the type of injury. They are likely to suffer in thier later life for the very hard tackling type of play now prominent in rugby. We all know how you hate regional rugby but pray tell us how you pay for ten or eleven professional side which you seem to hanker after. On the Wales front, Howley has made a complete hash of things and should stand down as he is the problem. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Sun 18 Nov 12

Dai the Milk says...

Robert Shillabeer wrote:
Dai the Milk wrote:
Who created the stupid pansy regional rugby which churns out soft touch rugby week-in week-out? Howley? Who is destroying those very clubs which have traditionally provided the hard men of Welsh rugby? (Areas like the Gwent and Pontypridd Valleys are being run down in rugby-playing terms). Howley? Who released Gatland at a vital time? Howley? Wake up guys.
Dai you show how much you fail to understand how rugby in Wales has developed yet again. The players are much tougher now than ten years ago, they are bigger and faster than ten years ago. Just look at the number of players who have injuries and the type of injury. They are likely to suffer in thier later life for the very hard tackling type of play now prominent in rugby. We all know how you hate regional rugby but pray tell us how you pay for ten or eleven professional side which you seem to hanker after. On the Wales front, Howley has made a complete hash of things and should stand down as he is the problem.
Robert, I don't know where you played your rugby (if at all) but toughness has nothing to do with size (manufactured in gyms) and speed. Yet again, you fail to get your facts right and fail to grasp issues too. I do not 'hate regional rugby' as you put it. We don't have regional rugby to hate. We don't have club rugby either. We have a hybrid system which neither the regionalists not the club supporters want and thus both groups are voting with their feet, with the knock-on effect of low crowds, low revenue and low quality players. Only people like yourself, who blindly support any set-up with a label on, who blindly defend the set-ups when they have got it all wrong, are in favour of this mess......And where did you get this comical thing about me wanting ten or eleven pro sides? We need 3 max (West/Central/East) supported by a quality 12 strong Premiership made up of 4 from each region. That would be my first choice. Failing that, 4 clubs (Newport, Cardiff, Swansea and Llanelli) supported by a 12 strong Premiership made up of 3 from each club area. Honesty and clarity, that's all people want. Unlike you, I can't eat any dish people serve up. I like quality.
[quote][p][bold]Robert Shillabeer[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dai the Milk[/bold] wrote: Who created the stupid pansy regional rugby which churns out soft touch rugby week-in week-out? Howley? Who is destroying those very clubs which have traditionally provided the hard men of Welsh rugby? (Areas like the Gwent and Pontypridd Valleys are being run down in rugby-playing terms). Howley? Who released Gatland at a vital time? Howley? Wake up guys.[/p][/quote]Dai you show how much you fail to understand how rugby in Wales has developed yet again. The players are much tougher now than ten years ago, they are bigger and faster than ten years ago. Just look at the number of players who have injuries and the type of injury. They are likely to suffer in thier later life for the very hard tackling type of play now prominent in rugby. We all know how you hate regional rugby but pray tell us how you pay for ten or eleven professional side which you seem to hanker after. On the Wales front, Howley has made a complete hash of things and should stand down as he is the problem.[/p][/quote]Robert, I don't know where you played your rugby (if at all) but toughness has nothing to do with size (manufactured in gyms) and speed. Yet again, you fail to get your facts right and fail to grasp issues too. I do not 'hate regional rugby' as you put it. We don't have regional rugby to hate. We don't have club rugby either. We have a hybrid system which neither the regionalists not the club supporters want and thus both groups are voting with their feet, with the knock-on effect of low crowds, low revenue and low quality players. Only people like yourself, who blindly support any set-up with a label on, who blindly defend the set-ups when they have got it all wrong, are in favour of this mess......And where did you get this comical thing about me wanting ten or eleven pro sides? We need 3 max (West/Central/East) supported by a quality 12 strong Premiership made up of 4 from each region. That would be my first choice. Failing that, 4 clubs (Newport, Cardiff, Swansea and Llanelli) supported by a 12 strong Premiership made up of 3 from each club area. Honesty and clarity, that's all people want. Unlike you, I can't eat any dish people serve up. I like quality. Dai the Milk
  • Score: 0

2:04pm Sun 18 Nov 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

Ahh so you want to cast the rest of Gwent off then, people in Bedwas, Cross Keys and Others will find that rather elitist don't you agree. The Dragons have got some quality players and very good prospects from the likes of Bedwas and Cross Keys over the years Toby for instance. You seem to miss the point that there is not enough money around even at the best of times to pay for more than four or five regions therefore a pyramid system has been established with the aim of getting a progressive development for both regional and national success. By the way I did play rugby at junior level but work commitments prevented me going on further although not to a very good standard I'm afraid.
Ahh so you want to cast the rest of Gwent off then, people in Bedwas, Cross Keys and Others will find that rather elitist don't you agree. The Dragons have got some quality players and very good prospects from the likes of Bedwas and Cross Keys over the years Toby for instance. You seem to miss the point that there is not enough money around even at the best of times to pay for more than four or five regions therefore a pyramid system has been established with the aim of getting a progressive development for both regional and national success. By the way I did play rugby at junior level but work commitments prevented me going on further although not to a very good standard I'm afraid. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

10:02pm Sun 18 Nov 12

CM1 says...

Robert, yet again you miss the point. DtM's idea would save money; three regions, rather than four! You either can't follow the discussion or are wilfully misinterpreting posts.
Robert, yet again you miss the point. DtM's idea would save money; three regions, rather than four! You either can't follow the discussion or are wilfully misinterpreting posts. CM1
  • Score: 0

10:15pm Sun 18 Nov 12

Dai the Milk says...

He can't follow the discussion. I'm convinced. Where have I mentioned specific clubs for example, apart from the obvious 4 options? Where have I mentioned 4 or 5 regions? You really have a problem with assimilating detail Robert. Suggest you stick to 'blindly' supporting your team. That's easier for you. No need to pay attention to detail. Just shout and drink.
He can't follow the discussion. I'm convinced. Where have I mentioned specific clubs for example, apart from the obvious 4 options? Where have I mentioned 4 or 5 regions? You really have a problem with assimilating detail Robert. Suggest you stick to 'blindly' supporting your team. That's easier for you. No need to pay attention to detail. Just shout and drink. Dai the Milk
  • Score: 0

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