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Wales 'better in England defeat' says coach Gatland

Highlights - Scotland 6-24 Wales

Wales coach Warren Gatland says his side were better in Six Nations defeat by England last week than in Saturday's 24-6 win over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Coach and players came in for huge criticism following their opening 26-19 loss to Martin Johnson's side.

"I thought we played better last week, we played really well, we were a bit unlucky," Gatland said.

"If you look at the two sides last week England came away as fantastic and we were rubbish."

The New Zealander bore the brunt of much of the flak aimed at Wales in the wake of the Millennium Stadium loss to England.

But Gatland contends the he has the statistical proof that Wales performed more capably against England than they did at Murrayfield against Andy Robinson's side.

"If you looked at the stats [against England] they showed it was a very tight game," Gatland added.

The lessons we learned from last week [against England] were pleasing. I thought the back-row was outstanding

Warren Gatland

"I thought we were clinical today [against Scotland], defended exceptionally well and thoroughly deserved to win.

"The boys fronted up and that's what it's about in sport at the highest level.

"Whether you are a player or a coach you will come under pressure and it's about showing character and responding to that and that what makes a man, people who love the challenge of having your backs to the wall.

"I thought the players could have easily lacked confidence as they have been under the pump but they continued to work really hard and front up.

"The performance needs to improve but the result was good."

Victory was Wales' first since beating Italy in Cardiff in March 2010 and was achieved through an impressive defensive effort, chance-taking and Scotland's poor ball control.

Even when Wales were down to 13 men, with Bradley Davies and Lee Byrne in the sin-bin in the first half, Scotland were unable to breach the visitors' defence.

Wales captain Matthew Rees brings down Scotland's Richie Vernon
Wales captain Matthew Rees brings down Scotland's Richie Vernon

Scotland scored only three points as the opening period came to a close and overall Wales made 137 tackles in total, compared to Scotland's 83.

The Welsh back-row of Dan Lydiate, Ryan Jones and Sam Warburton were hugely instrumental in that effort and Gatland said: "The first 20 minutes we played very well, we kept hold of the ball and went through phases.

"Then we showed great character to hold out for that 10 minutes when we were down to 13 men, and that was the game.

"We changed tactically after the break to play for territory and force them to play from deep, and I thought we defended well and when we got the chance Jonathan Davies put the kick through and Shane Williams scored.

"The lessons we learned from last week were pleasing.

"I thought the back-row was outstanding. We had a lesson from Scotland last year with the way their back-rowers played, but the two youngsters and Ryan were brilliant.

"Sam was excellent defensively and on the ball and he has learnt a lot in the last 12 months and he is potentially turning himself into a world-class [player]."



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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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