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Page last updated at 23:18 GMT, Friday, 19 November 2010

Wales captain Ryan Jones takes blame for Fiji draw

Gatland 'embarrassed' by Welsh display

Captain Ryan Jones said he was culpable for Wales' 16-16 draw with Fiji after he conceded the last-minute penalty that let Seremaia Bai level the game.

"I'm bitterly disappointed personally, that's my error that cost us," he said. "We talk about discipline all the time and I let myself and the team down."

Coach Warren Gatland offered little comfort, saying Matthew Rees would lead Wales against New Zealand next week.

"I'm just disappointed, a soft try and a stupid penalty [cost us]," he said.

Back-rower Jones - who led Wales to the 2008 Grand Slam - missed the opening November Test against Australia with a calf injury, allowing hooker Rees to take the skipper's armband.

Wales captain Ryan Jones in despair at the end of the game
Wales captain Ryan Jones in despair at the end of the game

Jones came off the bench against South Africa last week and led the team against Fiji with Rees rested, but his place against the All Blacks will be under threat with Jonathan Thomas, Andy Powell, Martyn Williams and Dan Lydiate contenders for back-row spots.

"I have just had the worst 20 minutes of my rugby career standing up in front of the boys and apologising to them for a mistake I made which gave away the penalty for the three points that got them the draw," said Jones after the Millennium Stadium match extended Wales' run without a win to six Tests.

"We just made too many errors through 80 minutes. That kept them in the game. When we went through the phases we looked dangerous, but there were too many long periods when we didn't manage to do that."

Wales have now won just two matches in 2010 - against Scotland and Italy - and have lost nine of their last 12 Tests, with world number-ones New Zealand next up at the Millennium Stadium.

"I'm a bit embarrassed by the performance, really," said Gatland. "We let down a good crowd that turned up to see us play better than we did.

"They were very physical. We knew it might take 50 or 60 minutes, then we saw players out on their feet and going down with cramp. We just had to keep our composure and show patience.

We'll go and look at the video and talk to the players before we say publicly who let us down, [otherwise it's] not fair on them

Warren Gatland

"But their try was just poor execution by us, we gave away poor penalties and kicked away needlessly when we needed to keep hold of the ball.

"The line-out was disappointing when it's been so good for the last few games.

"We had made a number of changes and we found out about a few players. The coaching staff are very disappointed.

"We made a number of changes to see the depth of the squad, and maybe it is not as deep as we perhaps thought.

"I don't want to talk about individuals. We'll go and look at the video and talk to the players before we say publicly who let us down, [otherwise it's] not fair on them.

"It's going to be tough against the All Blacks, but the players will just have to show their mettle and character.

"We've had a few harsh words in the changing room so we'll see how they can pick themselves up mentally from what should have been a win for us."

Fiji captain Deacon Manu, who plies his trade with Welsh region the Scarlets, was delighted with the effort of his side and suggested Wales may have taken their eye off the ball.

"I am really happy with how the guys stood up," said the prop.

"The last 20 minutes we really had to dig in. We had to make sure we were concentrating as the Welsh side will pounce on any lapses.

"The last 20 minutes were huge and we were happy that we were able to retain the ball, which you can do under the new rules, and keep playing and keep the momentum going.

"It's a step forward for us to come away from home and get a draw, but looking at who Wales have played in the last couple of weeks, and next week they have a tough game against the All Blacks, maybe they took their eye off this game."

Fiji's first-half try stuns Wales

Fiji's first-half try stuns Wales

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see also
Wales half-backs frustrate Howley
20 Nov 10 |  Welsh
Wales 16-16 Fiji
19 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Fire and flair: Fijian rugby
29 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
Wales v Fiji: Full record
29 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Rugby union on the BBC
05 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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