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Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Saturday, 14 March 2009

Wales display frustrates Gatland

Wales props John Yapp (left) and Rhys Thomas
Wales' new front row struggled in the scrums against Italy

Wales coach Warren Gatland says he was not satisfied by Wales' 20-15 comeback win over Italy at the Stadio Flaminio.

"I think we should have played more with our hands rather than our feet in the opening 25 minutes," said Gatland.

"Our scrum was poor in the first half and gave away six points. They defended well and put us under pressure. It was their best performance of the year.

"We didn't feel Italy challenged our line but we kept giving them kicks. We are still up for the Triple Crown."

We have to learn to adjust to how our rivals approach games against us

Warren Gatland

Ireland's 22-15 win over Scotland means Wales must beat Declan Kidney's Grand Slam-chasing side by more than 13 points to have a chance of the Championship when they meet at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium next Saturday.

France will also be in the title mix if they beat England at Twickenham this Sunday.

"When you are behind you go through certain scenarios in your head," said Gatland.

"But a few questions were answered. I'm just happy we came out and we scored two tries and we go home with the win."

James Hook hands off Carlos Nieto
James Hook hands off Carlos Nieto in Wales' narrow Roman victory

Gatland defended his decision to make wholesale changes to the team that lost 21-16 to France in Paris a fortnight ago, but admitted his players struggled to adapt in the opening half.

"A few players hadn't played for a while together," he said.

"There were lots of changes and different combinations.

"But for me it's great to be able to have the opportunity to make changes in a tournament game and to see where we are.

"We talked about trying to develop some depth in the squad and that is what we are doing.

"We have three wins from four games and I think we have shown some consistency in terms of results."

Gatland admitted his team have room for improvement.

I think I can summarise it with two words, pride but disappointment

Italy coach Nick Mallett

"The scrum didn't perform well and that put us under pressure," he said.

"We tried to talk about it in the interval and we made some improvements.

"We have to learn to adjust to how our rivals approach games against us.

"Teams try to stop us playing our game and that is a sign of respect."

Gatland praised the performance of the Azzurri and their man-of-the-match captain.

"Italy played very well," he said. "I thought Sergio Parisse was outstanding and Italy defended well."

Italy coach Nick Mallett had mixed emotions after the game.

"I'm very proud of how my team played," he said. "For the first time my team stuck to what we practised.

"It was a very good performance but I am very disappointed that having been so close we gave away a 72nd-minute try.

"I think I can summarise it with two words, pride but disappointment."

Mallett did see a vast improvement for his troops following defeats to Scotland, Ireland and England.


"We worked on our scrum this week and I really think that the scrum was a huge improvement today," he said.

"What was most important was that for the first time our backs played for our forwards.

"We didn't lose possession, we didn't make bad passes.

"We didn't score tries but we had lots of opportunities in their 22."

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see also
Italy 15-20 Wales
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Italy v Wales photos
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Italy v Scotland match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 15-22 Ireland
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
27 Oct 08 |  Welsh

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