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Gatland takes swipe at Wallabies

24th June 2013 12:33

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Kurtley Beale slipping in Australia v Lions first Test

Kurtley Beale: Wore moulded boots

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has taken a swipe at the Wallabies ahead of Saturday's potentially decisive Melbourne Test by hinting that poor preparation by Kurtley Beale cost Australia victory in Brisbane.

The Wallabies back, who had not started a top-class match for 15 weeks because of injury and alcohol-related issues, slipped as he ran in to take a last-gasp 45-metre penalty that would have seen Australia win instead of lose 23-21 in Brisbane on Saturday.

Gatland said Beale's choice to wear moulded boots on the greasy surface contributed to the miss.

Beale, who came on as a replacement just before half-time, also missed with an attempt four minutes earlier when a 31-metre kick went wide.

Gatland criticised Wallabies coach Robbie Deans for allowing Beale to do the goal-kicking in the moulded boots.

"If I was a coach and I looked at Kurtley Beale ... coming on to that field with those mouldy boots he was wearing, that sort of footwear in those conditions," he said.

The New Zealander said Beale should have been better prepared by wearing long screw-in studs as he regularly reminds his players when they play at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

"A lot of occasions, we've told players to make sure they turn up with the right footwear because it is a slippery surface and you have to turn up with the right tools as a part of your job," added Gatland.

Beale put the slip down to bad luck after the preceding scrum ripped up the ground.

"I've been playing in 'mouldeds' all my life," he revealed.

"It was just unfortunate the grass was a bit loose under my feet.

"But there's no excuses - that's just rugby."

Deans said the Australian team routinely discuss boot options but he leaves the players to choose what suits them best.

Gatland admitted that if Beale had been successful with his last-ditch goal kick the Lions' mood would have been entirely different heading to Melbourne instead of being one Test up with two to play.

"The problem with Test match rugby is there's nothing in between - it's either agony or ecstasy," he said.

"If that kick had gone over, we'd have a completely different mental attitude today."

Instead the Wallabies are licking their wounds and needing to repeat their 2001 series feat of winning the remaining two Tests to take the series.