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Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Saturday, 19 June 2010 14:19 UK

Coach Warren Gatland takes positives from Wales defeat

Coach Warren Gatland hopes Wales learn their New Zealand lesson
Coach Warren Gatland hopes Wales learn their New Zealand lesson

Coach Warren Gatland said he could still take positives from Wales' heavy loss to New Zealand in Dunedin, despite the lop-sided 42-9 scoreline.

"I can take some positives out because I thought for a big period of that game we had them under pressure, with 60% territory in that first half," he said.

"I thought the way we played in the first half was really pleasing, we put the All Blacks under a lot of pressure.

"Not many teams have that opportunity to do that against the All Blacks."

Wales put New Zealand under pressure in the first half but still trailed 15-9 at half-time because of two pieces of Kiwi opportunism.

First scrum-half Jimmy Cowan caught the Wales defence flat-footed with a quick tap-penalty to send hooker Keven Mealamu under the posts.

Then with Wales camped in enemy territory the tourists lost control of the ball at a ruck, allowing wing Cory Jane to break away to score from almost 80 metres out.

Gatland felt that centre Conrad Smith should have been called for offside as the ball squirted out of melee of bodies on the floor.

"I was very disappointed in Cory Jane's try, I thought that was a big moment in the game where I thought Conrad Smith had come in from the side when we had the ball there, flicked it between his legs and it was a costly seven points for us," Gatland added.

Graham Henry was much happier after the game than he was at half-time

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter

The Wales coach, pitting his side against his New Zealand countrymen, also felt that his players did not make the most of the scoring opportunities they created.

"They're a difficult team to score against, we did create a couple of chances and unfortunately we didn't take the opportunity to convert those," Gatland said.

"There was a loose kick and Leigh Halfpenny kicks it and rather than it going to the right it goes to the left and [Richard] Kahui has a chance to get back.

"We have a charge down on [Dan] Carter and perhaps Mike Phillips should have picked up the ball and run and he's elected to kick it.

"We've created pressure in the first half and Alun Wyn Jones has taken a tackle with two men outside him and perhaps should have passed it."

New Zealand picked Wales apart in the second half, thanks chiefly to the influence of fly-half Carter who finished with 27 points including two excellent tries.

"I was pretty pleased with the way I played, especially in the second half to turn things around was a lot of fun," Carter said, attributing the turnaround to "a few stern words" from coach Graham Henry at half-time.

Wales fly-half Stephen Jones barks out the orders in their Carisbrook loss
Wales fly-half Stephen Jones barks out the orders in their Carisbrook loss

"A couple of key messages - play at the right end of the field, plugging the corners and holding onto the ball - we did that and it worked for us and we were able to get some confidence and play well after that.

"He [Henry] was much happier after the game than he was at half-time."

Despite the heavy defeat, with a second Test in Hamilton to follow next Saturday, Gatland believes his side will have learnt plenty about what will be required in next year's World Cup in New Zealand from this experience.

"It's a great opportunity for us to learn and if we'd been somewhere else on tour... getting a result and doing okay it sort of gives you a false sense of where you're at," Gatland said.

"The All Blacks played with that intensity for 80 minutes and for a lot of our players, particularly the youngsters and the new guys out here, they would have learnt a massive amount from that.

"I can take some positives out because I thought for a big period of that game we had them under pressure, with 60% territory in that first half.

"Not many teams have that opportunity to do that against the All Blacks.

"They were outstanding in the second half in terms of anything from turnovers or creating chances they punished us.

"Some positives from the first half but it's us making sure we learn to live with a team and maintain that for a longer period.

"Fifty minutes wasn't good enough and we've got to learn to sustain that intensity for 80 minutes."



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see also
Captain Jones' Wales rally call
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Biggar takes Wales fly-half reins
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New Zealand 42-9 Wales
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Wales' NZ tour in photos
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Wales' tails are up - lock Jones
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All Black Vito in to face Wales
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Thomas demands Wales discipline
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Gatland wants Welsh self-belief
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Jones eyes All Blacks arm-wrestle
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NZ's 'hands off' message to Wales
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Phillips determined before Tests
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New Zealand 66-28 Ireland
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Wales' rugby fixtures
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Wales rugby results archive
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All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Country profile: New Zealand
28 Nov 11 |  Country profiles
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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