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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006, 17:23 GMT
Jones injury vital, says Johnson
Stephen Jones writhes on the floor after being injured in Ireland
Stephen Jones writhes on the floor after being injured in Ireland
Wales caretaker coach Scott Johnson said the early injury to fly-half Stephen Jones contributed to their 31-5 loss to Ireland at Lansdowne Road.

The Lions stand-off limped off after just 19 minutes with a dead leg and Wales lost much of their control.

"We got out-skilled today, they put us under pressure and the loss of Stephen Jones early effected us," Johnson said.

"We've got to hold our hands up, got to be honest and get back to the drawing board - there's no shame in that."

Wales try-scorer Mark Jones agreed that the enforced injury change hampered Wales, but refused to blame replacement fly-half Gavin Henson for Wales' loss of control.

I'm the coach and if the skills let us down then it's my fault
Wales caretaker coach Scott Johnson

Henson looked rusty and was wayward with his kicking and decision-making, but was playing just his second match since returning from a seven-week ban.

"Any team that loses a player of Stephen Jones' calibre is going to be under pressure," Jones said.

"Gavin has come in short of rugby, he's given it his all and you can't fault the guy's effort.

"It 's always going to be difficult coming into a game as high-profile as this and the guy has acquitted himself as well as he could on the day."

Johnson was in his first game in charge of Wales following the surprise departure of Mike Ruddock from the post.

And the Australian denied that the furore surrounding the Ruddock situation had sapped Wales' spirit in any way.

There were a lot of nerves and Wales came out very strongly
Ireland wing Shane Horgan

"I thought the players hung in there and it was our completion, out errors that let us down," Johnson added.

"It was us that let us down on the skill level, it wasn't us that let us down on the heart level.

"You have to point the finger at me. I'm the coach in this case and if the skills let us down then it's my fault, it's not the players' fault in regard to that.

"We got beat today by a better side but even in the last 10 minutes we dug in there and we fought to the end."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Highlights: Ireland 31-5 Wales


Interview: Wales coach Scott Johnson


Interview: Wales wing Mark Jones



SEE ALSO
Ireland 31-5 Wales
26 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
'Inept' Wales frustrate Davies
26 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
Ireland 'still have title chance'
26 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
Ireland v Wales player ratings
26 Feb 06 |  Six Nations
Ireland v Wales photos
26 Feb 06 |  Photo Galleries
Ireland v Wales match stats
26 Feb 06 |  Six Nations


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