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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 August 2007, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Thomas hits back at Wales critics
Gareth Thomas
Thomas scored one of Wales' three first-half tries
Defiant Wales skipper Gareth Thomas says the 27-20 World Cup warm-up win over Argentina was the perfect response to the team's critics.

The pressure was on coach Gareth Jenkins after the record 62-5 loss to England but Thomas said: "Twickenham has gone and it is forgotten about.

"It has been a really tough week and this game was all about us as a team.

"We've had a lot of flak but this was good preparation to face France. Anyone who wants to throw mud, don't bother."

Jenkins had received a barrage of criticism from the Welsh press after that Twickenham defeat but the former Scarlets coach told BBC Radio 5live: "We have been saying that this is the time to start making a judgement on us.

Let's hope we have now convinced people that we are a team worth following

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins

"The victory was all important. We have got out of the game what we wanted and we have ground out a very important win.

"The over reaction is my concern. The pressure we put on ourselves as a rugby nation is unrealistic.

"We are potentially a good team and we need people to be behind us not against us and let's hope that this persuades them to back us now.

"We are proud men and we represent a proud rugby country. What we have seen in the past couple of weeks has been very disappointing.

"Let's hope we have resurrected some faith today. The criticism has not hurt me personally but as a group we find it hard that the criticisms have been so vindictive and personal.

"The press have these huge agendas. We are a small rugby nation with a fantastic tradition and for some reason they find it hard to get behind us but let's hope we have now convinced people that we are a team worth following."

Wales dominated the first half and led 24-7 at the break with tries from Thomas, Alun Wyn Jones and Mark Jones.

But they lost their way in the second half as Argentina fought back and the hosts only held on for victory as Pumas replacement Martin Durand dropped the ball crossing for a try that could have given the visitors a draw.

606: DEBATE
JLM
"You have to give credit to Argentina," added Jenkins. "They made it hard for us.

"They were resilient and in the second half in particular they made us work for every inch of that performance.

"We needed a win. We needed to put a lot more cohesion together and in the first half we saw that potential and in the second half we saw the nerves. That's probably because of the type of pressure that we are living with in Wales at the present time.

"In the first half we were very confident and committed to the game but we did not do as well in the second half. Argentina had a big bearing on that and they kept the ball for a long period of time."

And Wales full-back Kevin Morgan said his side can take a lot of positives from the victory.

"The win was more important than anything," he said. "We weren't pleased with the second half, we didn't play the right options, gave away too much ball, but we got the win in the end and that builds confidence.

"We worked hard for each other that last 10 minutes and the first 40 minutes was positive but there's a lot of room for improvement."



SEE ALSO
Wales 27-20 Argentina
18 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Rugby World Cup 2007 fixtures
16 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union


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