Warren Gatland lamented Wales’ inability to hold Ireland at bay in Saturday’s Six Nations defeat, claiming: “We were the creators of our own demise”.
The Irish remain the only side with a perfect record of three wins from three in this season’s competition after winning 37-27 in Dublin, before England were stunned 25-13 by Scotland in Edinburgh.
Gatland’s 100th game in charge of Wales was spoiled by Jacob Stockdale scoring a pair of tries to inspire Joe Schmidt’s side to an Irish record-equalling 10th Test win on the spin.
Stockdale scored a breakaway try at the death, as Wales were pushing for a comeback triumph, leaving Gatland to give up on the championship for another year and instead concentrate on blooding newcomers against Italy next month.
He told a news conference: “In the first half, we were unlucky with a couple of things but against Ireland we spoke about discipline and not allowing them opportunities to get penalties, kick to touch, drive and to squeeze you.
— NatWest 6 Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 24, 2018
“They were very strong in our own 22. Our line defence wasn’t as good as it needed to be.
“We were 13-5 up with 38 minutes on the clock and we couldn’t manage that period to half-time, which was disappointing.
“But we just kept playing and scored some great tries. The guys were comfortable.
“Even with that last play, you look at it and if the ball goes to Justin Tipuric out the back then it’s a three on one and you potentially win the game.
“That’s how close the game is.”
The reportedly frosty relationship between the Kiwi coaches was another pre-match thread, but a contrite Gatland moved to bury the hatchet with Schmidt.
“I thought they were outstanding,” he said. “I have to apologise to Joe if I upset him a couple of years ago by being critical of the way that they played.
“I thought they moved the ball brilliantly well and they were so exciting in the way that they played today.”
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