Warburton plays down defeat

Date published: December 1 2013

Sam Warburton played down Wales' defeat to Australia saying it's not a setback, even though it was a ninth straight loss to the Wallabies.

Wales captain Sam Warburton has played down their defeat to Australia saying it's not a setback, even though it was a ninth straight loss to them.

This was the 22nd defeat in 23 Tests against the southern hemisphere giants of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia under Warren Gatland, and Wales' 18th loss in a row against the SANZAR trio since they beat the Wallabies back in 2008.

But Warburton did his best to downplay Saturday's result in the final Test of 2013 by saying his focus had already turned to the Six Nations, where Wales will be bidding for a third successive title.

“It is not a setback,” Warburton said.

“Everyone is looking at the World Cup, but two years is a real long time to when that comes around.

“The motivation for the players today (Saturday) was not having one-up on Australia for the World Cup pool. It's a long way away.

“Our focus already turns to the Six Nations. No-one has won the Six Nations three years running, and that will be the target for this group of players moving forward,” added the flanker ahead of Wales' tournament opener at home to Italy on February 1.

Gatland added: “It was a great game of rugby if you were a neutral or an Australian. It was a real Test match out there.”

“We are knocking on the door. The thing is with the southern hemisphere now, which is different to the past, is that they are coming here fully loaded and not making changes.”

The New Zealander also praised the way his side came back from 30-16 down in the second half to be within a try of victory at the finish – a score they couldn't achieve despite Australia being a man down for the closing minutes after Cooper was sin-binned.

“We dug deep and we showed courage to come back. Our fitness looked good in the second half and we put ourselves in a position where we had a chance to win it,” he said.

“We are knocking at the door at the moment and at some stage we are going to knock it over. We were under a bit of pressure and we kept well in it right until the end.”