Gatland backs Wales to beat Australia

Date published: November 23 2013

Wales coach Warren Gatland is “very confident” his side can overcome the Wallabies despite labouring to a 17-7 win over Tonga on Friday.

Warren Gatland is “very confident” his Wales side can overcome Australia despite labouring to a 17-7 win over Tonga at the Millennium Stadium.

First-half tries from Owen Williams and Ashley Beck helped the Six Nations champions to the victory in what was a poor clash as a spectacle.

But the win has been well received by Gatland, who rested many players due to fatigue and fitness, ahead of next weekend's big clash.

“We're very confident about the Australia game. We were disappointed with the first game of the autumn against South Africa when we went behind but got back into it. We showed character in dealing with injuries which in the past we wouldn't have been able to do,” he said.

“We built on the positives for Argentina and if we can win next week then three out of four will be a reasonably good return from the campaign.”

Wales will hope to have centre Scott Williams available following a foot injury while both Owen Williams and Beck pressed their claim to face the Wallabies with tries.

It was one of the few positives on an otherwise forgettable night that barely lived up to the occasion of Gatland's 100th international as coach and a 50th Test win.

He said: “It's a nice achievement but I'll forget the game pretty quickly and it's not a performance I will reflect on.

“The team is the end product and the most important thing as coaches is to try and get the best out of them and hopefully improve. It's a milestone but it's not something I am motivated by or think too much about.

“We're not pleased with the performance and we're pretty frustrated but we're happy to win. Those are the types of games that we might have succumbed to in the past.

“Tonga did a good job of slowing the ball and frustrating us, especially in the first half. I have never known a test match in which the ball was in play for just 11 minutes of the first half, especially given the way we like to play.

“Unfortunately we weren't able to convert our chances. In other circumstances we could have taken three points with penalties but we wouldn't have got much out of that, so I'm pleased that we kept trying and showing ambition to play. I can't fault the effort but we just weren't as clinical as we needed to be.”