Gatland frustrated by Ireland draw

Date published: February 8 2016

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Wales head coach Warren Gatland was left disappointed by his team drawing 16-16 with Ireland in their Six Nations opener in Dublin on Sunday.

Ireland had led 13-0 midway through the first-half but Wales launched a remarkable comeback to lead 16-13 inside the final ten minutes.

A late Jonathan Sexton penalty secured a draw for the hosts though, leaving Gatland frustrated with the result but admitting that it was probably a fair one.

"I'm not satisfied at all, I feel flat at the moment," he said after the match.

"We didn't start well in the first twenty minutes then played well to get back into the game and get in front.

"To not execute an exit play (at 16-13) was disappointing and we possibly could have come away with a win but Ireland contributed well and maybe a draw was a fair reflection of the game.

"It's not lost but you've taken a couple of trophies out of the cabinet already as you cannot win the grand slam or the triple crown so now it's just about focusing on the Championship."

Concerning the tactical aspects of this pulsating tie Gatland was particularly pleased with the scrum, and surprised by how open the game was.

"Both teams were reasonably positive in trying to move the ball and there was less kicking than I expected," he added.

"I thought our scum was outstanding and when Toby scored it showed that. The front row was the one area where we had some real dominance.

"The front row did really well as did the guys coming off the bench."

Dan Biggar limped off with an injury in the first-half, and Gatland provided an update on the fly-half's fitness.

"Dan has got a high ankle sprain so we will get our medical team to take a detailed look at it, and will know more about it in 24 hours," he revealed.

Gatland also explained the decision-making process behind Liam Williams coming in for the injured Gareth Anscombe at full-back.

"Anscombe's hamstring was tight in training in Friday," he said.

"We made the decision last night that Gareth was not worth the risk to start him, it was a mature decision made in conjunction with the medical team.

"I thought Liam Williams did ok but he's not quite as sharp as we would like him, though he did have a few nice touches."

There is just a six-day turnaround now until hosting Scotland in Cardiff next Saturday, and Gatland said that dictates that rest is the immediate priority for the players.

"The priority for this week is recovering, assessment of the players tomorrow, Tuesday off then we come in for three days preparation ahead of the Scotland," he remarked.

"With a bit of luck Scotland might agree to having the roof teams so both teams can play some rugby, I hope so."

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