Gatland rues ‘soft’ penalties

Date published: October 17 2015

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Wales coach Warren Gatland and skipper Sam Warburton pointed to a series of first-half penalties as the cause for the narrow loss to South Africa in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

Wales led 13-12 at half-time having scored the only try of the first period but South Africa's ability to keep the scoreboard ticking through penalties set them up to land the killer blow as Fourie du Preez crossed for the late winner.

"They were soft penalties to give away," said Gatland.

"From our point of view giving away those soft three points was disappointing as we had to work so hard for all our points."

Warburton echoed his coach's thoughts and vented his frustration in being elimated from the tournament after going down narrowly in consecutive games againts Australia and South Africa.

"For me those 12 points in the first-half were the most crucial points we gave away," said the Welsh captain.

"Other than that try (Du Preez's late winner), they didn't stress our try line.

"I feel we are going out too early and personally my body could go on for another week or two yet. Games are won on individual moments and we made just one mistake at the end.

"We don't blame the injuries for going out. We were pretty lucky that we could play in a quarter-final with our full forward pack.

"Considering you have got Tyler (Morgan) coming in and still does a great job it's great going forward. Gareth Davies got a few tries and him and Tyler and (Gareth) Anscombe are great going forward (for the future).

"No-one knows who is going to be around in four years' time. I feel for guys like Gethin (Jenkins). You try your best for players like that."

Gatland praised his team for their efforts including Dan Biggar, who scored 14 points and created a try for Davies.

"We are absolutely gutted. I am proud of the performance of the guys but I don't really want to talk about my emotions at the moment," said Gatland.

"The boys gave everything, emptied their tanks but we just weren't good enough to hold on for 80 minutes.

"At the end of the day South Africa won the game and we weren't good enough to win.

"They did what South Africa do. They hung in there right until the end. They got one chance and they took it and that was the result.

"[Biggar] has done a fantastic job for us in terms of how his game has developed. He has been one of the best out-halves in this World Cup.

"A lot of the younger players are just learning to play at this intensity. They are still pretty quiet on the field and in training but it's a great position for us to have developed some strength in depth to be going forward."

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