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Warren Gatland toasts 'lucky' Wales try over Ireland

Wales are awarded a controversial try in Cardiff

Ball mix-up gifts Wales controversial try

Warren Gatland shrugged off the controversy over Wales' winning try in the 19-13 Six Nations win over Ireland.

Mike Phillips scored after receiving a quickly taken line-out from Matthew Rees, who used a different ball from the one that went into touch.

Law 19.2 states a quick line-out must be taken with the same ball that went over the touchline.

"It wasn't the same ball so that's a little bit of luck that's gone our way," said Wales coach Gatland.

"Sometimes you deserve a bit of luck and we haven't had some luck at times. We'll take one of those decisions that go our way."

Captain Rees combined with Phillips after Ireland's replacement fly-half Jonathan Sexton sliced his kick into touch 10 metres inside his own half at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The move caught Ireland napping and the scrum-half streaked away down the left touchline to score in the corner after a powerful hand-off on Ireland wing Tommy Bowe.

Hook happy with Welsh win

Referee Jonathan Kaplan requested confirmation from touch judge Peter Allan over the legitimacy of the line-out, and Allan suggested the correct had been used.

But television replays showed another ball had been used, contravening Law 19.2 (d) of the International Rugby Board's Laws of the Game which states: "For a quick throw-in, the player must use the ball that went into touch. A quick throw-in is not permitted if another person has touched the ball apart from the player throwing it in and an opponent who carried it into touch."

Phillips, who became only the fifth Welsh scrum-half to reach 50 caps, acknowledged he was fortunate to get away the try.

"It was very lucky," said the 28 year old. "I was chuffed to get the opportunity and I took it. It was nice for something to come off for us for a change.

O'Driscoll despondent after defeat

"A lot of things didn't go our way and it was nice to have a bit of luck. We haven't had much luck over the years with Wales so we'll take it.

"Ireland had one or two high tackles on us as well, but it's tough for the referee to pick everything up."

The try and subsequent victory, Phillips added, was the perfect way for him to celebrate a personal milestone as he joined Gareth Edwards, Robert Jones, Rob Howley and Dwayne Peel as Welsh scrum-halves in the 50-cap club.

"It was something special for me, for my family and friends and loved ones," he said. "It's something I can always cherish no matter what goes on in the future. I can look back on this day as a very special one for me."

In the end, Wales hung on for victory by their finger-tips after a frantic finish saw Ireland come within metres of the home try-line.

And Gatland, who has now presided over more Wales Tests than any previous coach, praised his battered players for showing considerable "heart" to repel the Irish onslaught.

"I'm delighted with the win," said the Kiwi after his 36th game in charge. "I didn't think we played that well. Sometimes we looked really sharp but some of our kicking was poor. But it's great to get a win.

"The theme after the Italy game was 'let's be ruthless on attack and desperate on defence'.

"That's sometimes the criticism I've had of the players, sometimes we're not ruthless enough when we've got the ball and putting the opposition away, and we're not desperate in defence.

"But we were desperate in the last couple of minutes and I'm proud of the boys. They really showed some heart."



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see also
Prop Jones returns to Wales squad
14 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Hook flourishes at fly-half
13 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Wales 19-13 Ireland
12 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Wales v Ireland stats
12 Mar 11 |  Rugby Union
Gatland the great?
11 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Hook handed Wales fly-half shirt
08 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Ireland unchanged for Wales clash
08 Mar 11 |  Irish
Scotland 18-21 Ireland
27 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Italy 16-24 Wales
26 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union


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