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Page last updated at 18:29 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Gatland did not want Carter ban

Dan Carter high tackles Martin Roberts
All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter high tackles Martin Roberts

Wales coach Warren Gatland wishes Dan Carter had not been banned for New Zealand's game with Italy on Saturday.

Gatland says his post-match anger over Carter's high tackle on Martin Roberts was directed at the match officials who did not act on the incident.

Carter was cited for the 70th minute incident and banned for one week.

"It was a head-high tackle in a critical moment of the game and I'd rather Dan Carter was still playing," said Gatland.

"I wasn't annoyed with Dan Carter. I was annoyed that the decision was missed [by referee Craig Joubert and his fellow officials].

"I thought it was an obvious high tackle that definitely should have been a penalty for us under the sticks and three points at a critical moment, possibly a yellow card.

"But that was a referee decision. So the fact that Dan Carter's been cited afterwards, that has no relevance to me or to Wales.

"I just thought at the time the decision was a pretty critical decision that was missed."

Gatland caused controversy with a post-match assertion that referees do not want to be involved in upsets during big games.

At the time he said: "A guy makes a break in the 22 and if that had happened at the other end then it would have been a penalty and a yellow card."


He then added: "The frustrating thing... was not getting some 50-50 calls," he said.

"You just want some calls to go your way. It's trying to change referees' opinions about not wanting to referee an upset.

"We've got to keep playing positive rugby and win them over."

Following Tuesday's announcement of the team to face Samoa at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, Gatland added: "That was the moment of the game. Whatever happens afterwards, I don't really care.

"I was only making reference to that point of time in the game and I felt it at least should have been a penalty and three points and possibly a yellow card."

Gatland also says New Zealand were the better team on Saturday, but questioned whether they can make significant improvements while asserting Wales can do so.

He added: "Yes, we're still not quite good enough, but we are closing the gap and maybe if a few chances, a few decisions had gone our way it could have been.

"But in fairness to the All Blacks I think still the better team won. They dominated that third quarter.

We think we can make improvements as a side. That's an All Blacks side out there towards the end of their season and how much improving have they got to do?

Warren Gatland

"But we've been very hard on ourselves. We've been very critical on ourselves, but there are things there we feel we can significantly improve on that's going to improve our game.

"We're disappointed with a few aspects of Saturday. The pleasing thing was the disappointment of the players afterwards.

"We are generally disappointed that we pushed the All Blacks close. I think if we're honest we're still not quite there.

"They've been together for a long time. That's our first game together as a squad for seven months and to go out and play one of the best teams in the world that have played the week before, had a Tri-Nations campaign together.

"We're pleased with a lot of aspects of Saturday's performance and knowing there are some things to improve on.

"If we look at the stats from 12 months ago, lots of things say that our performance has improved in terms of we've had more territory than 12 months ago, we've had more possession than 12 months ago, we've had to make less tackles.

"We spent more time in the opposition 22, less time in our 22, our gain-line efficiency was better than 12 months ago.

"We have missed a few more tackles than we did 12 months ago. The numbers stack up and say there's been an improvement in performance on 12 months ago and for our first game, we are pretty happy.

"And we think we can make improvements as a side. That's an All Blacks side out there towards the end of their season and how much improving have they got to do?

"We feel we've got a significant amount of improvement in our performances."

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see also
Carter given one-match suspension
10 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Gatland lashes out at officials
07 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Wales 12-19 New Zealand
07 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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