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We played all the rugby, says Warren Gatland after loss


Gatland proud of Wales in defeat

Wales coach Warren Gatland felt France had "not played a lot of rugby" despite handing his side a 26-20 beating at the Millennium Stadium on Friday night.

France remain on course for their first Grand Slam since 2004 after recording their third win of the campaign.

Wales paid for first-half errors and were trailing 20-0 at half time.

But Gatland said: "There was only one team playing rugby [Wales]. We were the architects of our own demise. Two intercept tries were really costly."

Wales showed flashes of brilliance - epitomised by wing Shane Williams' magical late score that gave him 50 tries for Wales in his 71st Test and eclipsed Gareth Edwards' Welsh record of 18 career championship touchdowns.


But, as Welsh fans had already witnessed in the defeat to England and narrow win over Scotland, Gatland's team conceded early points to their opponents, and for the second time in three matches left themselves too much to do late on.

"If we can stop being our own worst enemies and get it right we are not far away from being a very good side," claimed Gatland.

"At no stage did we feel under pressure because I don't think France played a lot of rugby. We could have thrown in the towel at half-time, but we played some fantastic rugby in the second-half and showed some great character and put ourselves in a position to win the game.

"Our fitness was superb, and we had France on the ropes. They were out on their feet. We had 70% territory and possession in that second-half. It was hugely frustrating."

Wales v France Six Nations highlights

Highlights - Wales 20-26 France

Centre James Hook gifted France their opening try when an intended pass to his centre partner Jamie Roberts found Alexis Palisson instead, then Williams' lobbed ball ricocheted to a grateful Francois Trinh-Duc just before the break.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards also appeared content enough with his team's performance.

"To keep France to no offensive tries was a great effort. But there is no doubt people are doing their homework and have seen they can get intercepts, because more than 30% of our tries conceded over the last 18 months have come from intercepts."

France coach Marc Lievremont, meanwhile, admitted his heart was in his mouth as Wales launched their comeback.

Wales hit back from 21-9 to snatch a dramatic late victory over Scotland two weeks ago, and they almost managed it against England seven days earlier before they were killed off by yet another interception score.

"I am very happy to have won three games, but there is still a lot of work to do," said Lievremont.

"We lost a lot of coherence in the second-half. It was like watching the spectre of the Wales-Scotland game appear before us.

"I am very happy with the win, but that is mixed with relief after that second half."

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see also
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France suffer double injury blow
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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