Gatland still positive despite defeat

Date published: May 30 2016

Wales head coach Warren Gatland reckons his men will be primed and ready for their Test series against New Zealand after blowing off the cobwebs in defeat to England.

Wales make the long journey south on Monday to take on the world champions after their 27-13 loss at Twickenham. Rob Evans got Gatland’s men off to a flying start at Twickenham, before the home side ran-in five tries to secure victory.

But Gatland reckons his charges are ready to take it to the All Blacks after getting up to Test-match speed.

“I was happy with the first half, disappointed with the second half,” he told the Welsh Rugby Union’s official website.

“We definitely needed a run because players haven’t played at that level for a while and were blowing a bit.

“We definitely needed the run; players haven’t played for a while, haven’t played at that level for a long time. We were blowing a bit so to get the game under our belt was pretty good.

“As I said, I was disappointed with aspects of the second half but not things that we can’t fix. There are things we have to work on too.

“What’s going to be important in New Zealand is keeping that (high) tempo for 80 minutes. We’ve got a lot of players who haven’t played at that level for a while.

“We were happy with the way that we started and lots of things in the first half but struggled with it for 80 minutes. The whole reason for this game was to get that under our belts to hit the ground running in New Zealand.”

Wales kick off their Test series against New Zealand at Auckland’s Eden Park, before a midweek clash against two-time Super Rugby winners the Chiefs.

Dan Lydiate suffered an AC joint injury and faces further assessment, while Ross Moriarty pressed his case to start. And Gatland was impressed with the Gloucester flanker’s performance.

“I thought he carried well and gave us some nice go-forward,” said Gatland.

“He had a pretty strong game and his performance was pretty good, so he has put himself in contention for that first Test.”