Gatland unhappy with dogfight

Date published: November 15 2014

Wales head coach Warren Gatland highlighted his side’s flaws and paid tribute to Fiji after a narrow 17-13 win in Cardiff.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland highlighted his side’s flaws and paid tribute to Fiji after a narrow 17-13 win in Cardiff.

Tries from George North and Alex Cuthbert put the hosts ahead but they failed to score any points in the second half as Fiji ran them close, despite having a man sent off.

“We probably weren’t clinical enough behind, and we had too many turnovers that allowed them to stay in the game. It was a bit of a dogfight,” said Gatland.

“I was frustrated with some of the decisions, which put you under a bit of pressure. We had enough ball, and we perhaps need to be a bit more clinical.

“We made a number of changes and we felt the team was strong. We were pretty frustrated by a number of (officials’) decisions that went on in the middle, and it didn’t help with the flow of the game and continuity.

“In fairness to Fiji, they went out there to try to play at a different tempo to slow the game down, and they were effective at doing that.

“For us, it was the number of turnovers that were frustrating, but we’ve got to be excited and look forward to next week.

“We are expecting the All Blacks to come fully loaded, and it’s going to be tough, but you have got to be excited about playing the best team in the world.”

Gatland also addressed the issue of Richard Hibbard playing for Gloucester on Friday, despite the hooker supposedly carrying an injury.

“It wasn’t the permission of us (for Hibbard to play for Gloucester),” added Gatland.

“He was presented to us early in the week with an injury, we put him in a (surgical) boot and he wasn’t available for selection.

“Then he was to go back to Gloucester, and it was a surprise to us that on the Wednesday he presents himself to Gloucester being able to be fit to go on the bench.

“I just want to get some clarity on what’s going on. Either you are fit to be available or you are not. If he was fit for Wales, he would have been involved.

“Either he is fit, or he is not. I don’t see how you can somehow become fit halfway through the week. I suppose sometimes that’s pressure that clubs put on, and he was told he would sit on the bench and he would not go on unless there was an injury.

“He went on with eight minutes to go, but I am not sure if that was a tactical replacement or an injury replacement. I need to check on that.

“But the player needs to take some responsibility as well. I don’t blame Gloucester, because they are in their own competition and they want to put out a team that is good enough to win.

“Sometimes, the player needs to be stronger, and that is the conversation we will have with him next week.”