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Wales blew it in finale - Gatland

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Gatland gracious in defeat

Coach Warren Gatland says Wales shot themselves in the foot in the dying moments of the Six Nations decider with Ireland in Cardiff.

He was proud of the way they went back in front after falling 14-6 behind.

But Gatland said: "We've shot ourselves in the foot by not being accurate enough when it really mattered.

"Ireland kept their composure and they've ended up with a Grand Slam so you've got to take your hat off to them and say well done."

Gatland was delighted with a 6-0 half-time lead, but Ireland hit back with two tries within first six minutes of the resumption.

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"We thought we were putting Ireland under some pressure but conceding 14 points like that, we were really on the back foot," he noted.

"Then we clawed our way back into the game and got ourselves back in front and that was a real sign of character of the team to be able to do that.

"And then unfortunately - as has happened on a few occasions in this tournament - we've shot ourselves in the foot by not being accurate enough when it really mattered.

"That's the learning we need to take out of today and the learning from the whole tournament. We haven't always played to our potential."

After the high of last year's Grand Slam, Wales ended up in fourth place in this year's championship, with England and France above them on points difference.

"Last year we came into this tournament completely under the radar and there was no expectation from anybody," Gatland said.

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"And we've had to deal with a lot of different expectations this year, coming in as favourites, every team targeting Wales in terms of seeing us as a big scalp.

"We've had to deal with teams being quite negative in the way they've played against us, not playing a lot of rugby, a lot of pick-and-go, being really competitive at the breakdown, trying to slow the ball down."

Gatland says Wales can improve by addressing simple issues rather than attempting to adopt fresh tactics.

"Everyone talks about different plans and that, but it's not about that. It's about just making sure you're accurate and you learn from things that can hopefully make you better," said Gatland.

Having sparked controversy by saying Wales' players disliked their Irish rivals more than any other team in the tournament, Gatland said Ireland's victory was "good for the championship as well".

"I'm delighted for Declan Kidney," he added. "It was a great game and you've got to give Ireland credit. They've won all the matches and well done to them.

"It's been a long time coming for Ireland and at the end of it they've deserved their Grand Slam and we bear no grudges."



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