Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted he had no excuses after watching Ireland maul the defending Six Nations champions in Dublin.
Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted he had no excuses after watching Ireland maul the two-time defending Six Nations champions at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors suffered their worst tournament defeat since 2006 and took 56 minutes to score, with Leigh Halfpenny's penalty alone helping them avoid a humiliating whitewash in a comprehensive 26-3 loss.
Defeat dealt a huge, but not fatal, blow to Wales's hopes of becoming the first side to win three successive outright Six Nations titles.
Ireland's tactics 'surprised' Gatland, the Kiwi coach admitted, but ill discipline and a lack of effectiveness at the breakdown also cost Wales dearly.
“We were well beaten by a better team, there are no excuses, it was a very disappointing display from us,” said the former Ireland coach.
“But hats off to Ireland, they played very well. They dominated us up front, mauled very well, were strong at breakdown, they made it very difficult.
“Two things were probably most disappointing; our discipline, we conceded a lot of penalties, and that gave them the opportunity to kick to touch and then get driving line-out going.
“We spoke a lot about being hard on our line-out defence, but we weren't good enough, and as the players take responsibility, we as coaches have to do it too.
“We have to show some character to bounce back for the next game against France.”
It was Joe Schmidt's tactics – based on predictions of bad weather that ultimately didn't arrive – that proved the key talking point post-match.
“They possibly surprised us, and it was effective,” said Gatland, alluding to the Ireland coach's usual fondness for open, attacking play.
“I can't remember any occasion when they moved the ball through the backline to open us up. They kicked the leather off it, there was a lot of one-pass rugby out there, but they also dominated up front, so we have to take that on the chin.”