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Gatland lashes out at officials

Dan Carter high tackles Martin Roberts
All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter high tackles Martin Roberts

Warren Gatland has launched a stinging attack on match officials, saying they "don't want to be involved in upsets" after Wales lost to the All Blacks.

The Wales coach was furious that Dan Carter was not penalised for a high tackle on Wales' Martin Roberts which could have altered the 19-12 result.

"If that had happened at the other end, then it would have been a penalty and a yellow card," Gatland told BBC Sport.

But the All Blacks said a sin-bin for Carter would have been a "stretch."

Gatland also criticised as "harsh" a decision by South African referee Craig Joubert to award a first-half penalty against flanker Martyn Williams for a deliberate knock-on.

"You look at that and it means we lost three points there and with the high tackle."

Gatland, himself a New Zealander, feels that match officials do not want to be involved in the potential aftermath and controversy of a shock result.

Gatland berates ref's decisions

"The frustrating thing... was not getting some 50-50 calls," he said.

"You just want some calls to go your way. It's trying to change referees' opinions about not wanting to referee an upset.

"We've got to keep playing positive rugby and win them over."

Dan Carter's tackle on Wales replacement scrum-half Roberts ended one of the hosts' most promising attacks, and Gatland insisted: "It was a head-high tackle.

"And all the officials missed it, so we are pretty disappointed with that."

Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards added they "should have played the last 10 minutes of the game with 14 men."

But New Zealand coach Graham Henry said it was a "bit of a stretch" that Carter, who kicked 14 points after overcoming a calf injury, should have been penalised for the tackle on Scarlets scrum-half Roberts.

Carter's high tackle apology to Roberts

"I haven't looked at the replay at all, but it seemed to me he hit him on the chest and then slid," said former Wales coach Henry.

"Until you look at those things over several views, you can't make a decision on it. Let's leave it at that, shall we?"

Asked what else contributed to the defeat, Gatland told BBC Sport: "It's about learning to play at the highest level, making sure for 80 minutes that we switch on and nail critical moments.

"There are fine things as a team we hammer in at training but we must carry them into the game and keep developing."

Wales captain Ryan Jones said: "It was a fantastic Test, but we paid the price for a couple of errors in key moments.

"We didn't help ourselves; we were the makers of our own misfortune today, but at 80 minutes we were still in with a chance, and on another day it might have gone our way.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying my rugby again and it's good to be part of a special team."

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Stephen Jones, who scored all Wales' points with four penalties, said: "New Zealand are very clinical - they put us under a lot of pressure.

"From our perspective, a few errors allowed them to get on to the front foot. But we have to give them a lot of credit.

"I would love to have played in a game with a bit more width - but New Zealand are very well-organised defensively.

"We are bitterly disappointed we lost. It's the first game we've played in a long time, but we are going in the right direction.

"We keep improving and raising the bar and hopefully we'll get there."

Wales wing Shane Williams added: "It was such a tough game; you don't get many opportunities against New Zealand and you have got to make them count.

"We felt we could win this game today and we came off the field thinking we should have. They're one of best teams in the world, and there's a reason for it."

Henry, meanwhile, was pleased with the New Zealand performance.

"It was a highly competitive Test match between two good sides. Our guys have come a long way to play here and they did well under those circumstances."



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see also
'Messy' pitch concerns Halfpenny
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Wales 12-19 New Zealand
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Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
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