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Wales coach Warren Gatland rues costly errors

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Gatland promises creative choices for team to play South Africa

Wales coach Warren Gatland took heart from a positive display but rued the errors and missed kicks that cost his side in their 25-16 loss to Australia.

"I thought we played pretty well but a couple of turnovers cost us points and we missed a couple of crucial shots at goal," Gatland told BBC Sport.

Fly-half Stephen Jones kicked three penalties, but missed two others.

"If we had been a bit more accurate and kicked our goals, it could have been different," said the New Zealander.

"There were a lot of positives today but a couple of critical errors have been very costly in the end."

He also pointed to Wales' injuries problems as a key factor in the loss.

The hosts were without full-back Lee Byrne, wing Leigh Halfpenny, centre Jamie Roberts and captain and back-rower Ryan Jones.

"We have got some real quality players not in the side at the moment," Gatland said.

"We played one of the best sides in the world today at full strength and we know we are missing a few key players so there are some positives to take but there are some disappointments as well."

Wales had pledged to face up to Australia head-on in a high-tempo and exciting encounter and were true to that promise.

The guys on the bench were pretty good when they came on and gave us some impetus before the end

Warren Gatland

Their pack were outstanding in the set-pieces, winning half-a-dozen penalties at the scrummage.

"We really wanted to take it to them at scrum-time, we wanted to be very direct against them," Gatland said.

"But there were a couple of costly turnovers and they have scored points from them."

Stephen Jones missed his first penalty in the 19th minute with the score at 3-7, and having pulled the score back to 6-7 with his second successful kick, failed with another effort just before half-time that would have put Wales in front.

Jones' third penalty after 52 minutes reduced the deficit to five points after Kurtley Beale had scored Australia's second try, created when David Pocock forced a turnover and a Quade Cooper kick bounced off Alun Wyn Jones into Beale's hands.

The full-back drew Wales prop Gethin Jenkins to release James O'Connor down the right and then collected the wing's inside pass to score.

606: DEBATE
Robert Rees

"It was a fortuitous ricochet," said Wales assistant coach Shuan Edwards. "They ended up attacking Gethin Jenkins, who was on the wing, and it was just one of those things.

"O'Connor showed great pace to get down the touchline and create the try.

"But that was a full-strength Australia, we have four or five Lions missing and you would like to think with our forward dominance, if we can get them fit we can become a strong team."

Gatland said he would now be looking closely at team selection for the match next Saturday, 13 November, against South Africa.

Wales have lost their last 11 Tests against the Springboks, conceding almost 370 points in the process.

But they could be reinforced by the return of their British and Irish Lions full-back Lee Byrne after a broken hand, while skipper Ryan Jones will be assessed in his recovery from a torn calf muscle.

"Ryan is still recovering and hasn't had a lot of rugby," Gatland added. "We will check on him over the next week.

"I thought the guys on the bench were pretty good when they came on and gave us some impetus before the end."

After Ben Alexander had scored a third Wallabies try and O'Connor's penalty took them 22-9 clear, replacement scrum-half Richie Rees crossed for a try, converted by Dan Biggar, with 10 minutes left to give Wales late hope, but another O'Connor penalty sealed their fate.



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see also
Wales 16-25 Australia
06 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union


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