Warren Gatland admits it’s the worst Wales performance under his tenure
‘They were the better team. We were well beaten on the day’
The muffled sound around Lansdowne Road was the soft slump of Welsh players and coach’s falling on their swords. Warren Gatland, Sean Edwards and flanker Dan Lydiate all came out of the changing rooms, their hands high in the air primed to tell the boning truth.
Their mood may have been reflective and sombre, maybe even confused about the comprehensive nature of the beating but they were fearlessly prepared not to hide.
“To be honest with you we got outplayed today,” said the Welsh flanker Lydiate. “All credit to Ireland but we didn’t turn up. The way the game went . . . they got on top of us and kept the pressure on us. All credit to them but we’ve got to take a look at ourselves.
“I thought Ireland were very good today and we under performed. Their pack did particularly well and I think Johnny (Sexton) bossed the game to.”
Lydiate, along with Mike Phillips and Jamie Roberts, play with Sexton in Racing Metro so they know the modus operandi of the Irish outhalf. But they were looking into their own hearts. “Like I said, we’ve got to take a long hard look at ourselves, dust ourselves off and work even harder,” added Lydiate. “It was about 60 minutes before we actually started to play. Ireland stopped us playing especially at the breakdown.
‘To sort out’
“It’s something we need to sort out. But when we started to play, keep the ball and go through the phases, we started to make a bit of yardage . . . That’s probably one of our strengths and we didn’t do that but as I say that’s probably credit to Ireland for stopping us at source.”
Gatland characterised the defeat as the worst performance by Wales during his tenure as coach. Like the other players who spoke, the New Zealander was gracious and clear-minded. “It’s the most disappointing performance since I’ve been coach of Wales,” said Gatland. “We spoke about discipline and we gave away too many penalties. We gave them the opportunity to kick and work lineout drives. They were the better team. We were well beaten on the day.”
Edwards was equally direct about Wales abject failure in all areas but also approving of the Irish performance. “I think they did exceptionally well. We had a real problem stopping the maul,” said the stony-faced former Rugby League great. In the swirl of disappointment and stunned embarrassment, Lydiate almost wished it all away.
“You almost feel like you want another game tomorrow. You want to turn it around and play it again,” said the flanker. Lydiate believes Wales can still win as they also lost in last year’s championship.
“It won’t be an issue for us if we get a good result for our clubs and come back flying. The worst thing that you can do is panic,” he said.
“It didn’t work today for whatever reason. I can’t give you the answers right now. As long as we turn it around for the next game, that’s the main thing. It’s just working hard to get the result in the next game.”