Planet Rugby

Halfpenny's season over - Gatland

09th March 2014 19:13

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Leigh Halfpenny Injured Twickenham

Season over: Leigh Halfpenny

Wales boss Warren Gatland confirmed that Leigh Halfpenny has played his last match for Cardiff Blues after dislocating his shoulder.

Halfpenny is set to move to Toulon at the end of the season and sustained the injury with a try-saving tackle on England centre Luther Burrell.

"Leigh has dislocated his shoulder so I think that's him gone for the rest of the season. It's disappointing for him."

Gatland was unhappy with the number of turnovers produced by Wales throughout that killed their attacks time and again.

"We hurt ourselves with the number of turnovers. We didn't look after the ball well enough for long periods and that's disappointing. Scrum penalties were costly... but credit to England, they deserved to win," said Gatland.

"[The Lions] has been tough on these players in retrospect. It's been a long 18 months for some of those players with the Grand Slam, a Championship, the Lions tour, but that's professional sport and you've got to get yourself up for the match. We weren't as good as we can be today and that's disappointing.

"I think England are a good side. It was an arm wrestle for a while but we were still in the game at 20-15.

"We tried to come out in the second half and if you convert a couple of those opportunities that you create and you're accurate it's a different game. But well done to England."

Gatland pinpointed a key moment where Jamie Roberts opted to kick rather than feed George North out on the wing, with small errors such as that one counting for so much more when the gap between the leading sides in the Six Nations is so small.

"We created some nice space for George but rather kicking it we had to pass it. That's seven points that you have to take," added Gatland.

"I don't think there's a massive mountain - all the teams are pretty close and the four top teams are all capable of beating each other on their day if they get their performance right. England did today."

Gatland also dismissed the result having any major impact on the Rugby World Cup in two years time, when England will face Wales at Twickenham in the pool stages.

"I don't think there's any bearing on the World Cup. When that comes around there'll be two teams that are pretty even and each could win on the day," stated Gatland.

"There's another game in Cardiff before that next year and I think both teams will be stronger by the time the World Cup comes around. There's also a lengthy period beforehand where you get four to five months together and that made a huge difference for us in 2011."

by Ben Coles
@bencoles_

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