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Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Wales head back to drawing board

A disconsolate Wales troop off after their 33-12 hammering by Australia
A disconsolate Wales troop off after their 33-12 hammering by Australia

Wales say their disappointing autumn Test campaign and the evolving world scene will see them produce a new game plan ahead of the Six Nations.

"The only good thing is we'll look at ourselves and analyse our game," said forwards coach Robin McBryde after the 12-33 home hammering against Australia.

"There are no hiding places, the game has moved on in kicking, competing in the air, pressure at the tackle area.

"We're not seeing much rugby being played but that's across the board."

The Tri Nations sides have been dominant this autumn, their kicking game having evolved in the summer.

We try to play a bit of rugby by not kicking the ball away as much - but it's not a winning performance is it?

Wales coach Warren Gatland

The strict refereeing at the breakdown imposed by referees at the behest of the International Rugby Board has driven this, the percentages not favouring running rugby as the attacking side is often penalised.

"We gifted Australia the game," said Wales coach Warren Gatland after Saturday's Millennium Stadium defeat.

"Everyone talks about kicking - Australia kicked 40 times and we kicked 22 times.

Rugby Union Blog
Tom Fordyce

"We try to play a bit of rugby by not kicking the ball away as much - but it's not a winning performance is it?"

Defence coach Shaun Edwards called the defeat his worst day with Wales.

"Australia's defence was magnificent," he said. "The tackler was incredibly proactive and it wasn't just the back row but from one to 15. Even the scrum-half was very dynamic over the ball.

"That is the modern game - the aerial battle and the breakdown, two areas we came second."

Australia's Drew Mitchell challenges Leigh Halfpenny for a high ball
Wales were caught by surprise by Australia's ambition in the air

McBryde added: "There's a shift with regards to where you win possession, it's not necessarily from the set piece but from kicks and gathering kicks."

Wales opened their November campaign - in which they scored just four tries - with a predictable defeat to the All Blacks.

They then struggled to a win over Samoa, improved in beating Argentina, but crashed badly against the Wallabies.

The series highlighted Wales' dependence on their established, senior stars, with few of the newcomers or younger first-choices laying down cast-iron cases for inclusion.

It's a bit frustrating [as a runner] but international rugby is about winning - and that's it really

James Hook

Injured full-back Lee Byrne's siege-gun boot was badly missed, and his stand-in James Hook - a converted fly-half whose creative skills could be utilised at centre in the Six Nations - acknowledged the changing demands of the modern game.

"Australia kicked an awful lot, there are some great kickers in their team," Hook told BBC Sport Wales.

"[Kicking is a] big part of the game, there's nothing you can do about it at the moment.

"It's a bit frustrating [as a runner] but international rugby is about winning - and that's it really."

We hit a brick wall - and we didn't see it coming. It's back to the drawing board

Martyn Williams

Veteran flanker Martyn Williams admitted to feeling shock at the total superiority displayed by Australia.

"It feels like we've been hit by a truck," said Williams. "We were happy with the way we were going, then we hit a brick wall - and we didn't see it coming.

"It's back to the drawing board, there's a couple of months before the Six Nations and we need to work hard.

"A lot of us have been in this situation before, we've got a lot of influential players to come back and we've added a few new boys who have put their hands up."

Mike Phillips and Matthew Rees could be injury doubts for the Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham on 6 February.

Gatland looks back with Scrum V

Byrne and Adam Jones should be back, though, and Wales will hope to have Ian Evans, Mark Jones, Dafydd Jones, Morgan Stoddart and Gavin Henson back to full fitness to challenge for places.

"[Australia was] disappointing," said coach Warren Gatland in summing up the November Tests.

"We felt that we were making progress, it's disappointing to take a backward step.

"It was absolutely my worst moment in the job, we are a better team than we displayed.

"We've got to go back to the drawing word and work on some stuff, hopefully we'll have players coming back from injury and players here who have learnt a lot in terms of development for the next campaign."



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Injury worry for Williams & Rees
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Wales rugby results archive
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Coming up next on Scrum V...
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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