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Warren Gatland hints at World Cup selection repercussions after Wales collapse

13 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Wales head coach Warren Gatland. Photo Ben Whitley PA Images

Warren Gatland hinted there may be repercussions for World Cup selection after Wales surrendered a strong position in slumping to a 19-17 defeat by England at Twickenham.

The hosts had been reduced to 12 men after Owen Farrell’s yellow card was upgraded to a red by the ‘Bunker’ review system at a time when Freddie Steward and Ellis Genge were sat in the sin-bin.

Wales led 17-9 but against the odds England scored the next try when Maro Itoje rounded off a maul before George Ford landed a conversion and penalty to seal a come-from-behind victory.

“I’m furious we didn’t win the game, but it answered a few questions for us about certain individuals,” head coach Gatland said.

“The game management in that final quarter wasn’t good enough. We should have been comfortable.

“It was a big moment not taking the kick-off and giving England back a bit of momentum by not clearing our line, allowing them to score from that and get back into the game. That was disappointing.

“We capitulated in terms of our accuracy and with some guys not knowing their roles. For me that was disappointing because we’ve spent a lot of time ensuring there is clarity and everyone knows their roles.

“We gave away some soft penalties where we piggy-backed them up the field and gave them those chances. We’ll have learnt a lot from that.”

Wales’ inability to close out their first victory at Twickenham since 2015 completed a largely promising double-header against England that began with a solid 20-9 win in Cardiff.

South Africa

Gatland has one last warm-up game to finalise selection for the World Cup, with South Africa visiting the Principality Stadium two days before he unveils his 33-man squad.

Dangerous Fiji are their opening opponents in France next month and Wales’ boss believes his players are being sufficiently battle-hardened.

“There are still some players we need to find out about and potentially give an opportunity to,” Gatland said.

“You couldn’t ask for better warm-up matches in terms of the physicality we are looking for, with England home and away and then South Africa.

“It’s going to be the same sort of test up-front against South Africa and we need to take the learnings from Twickenham.”

Wales are waiting for fitness updates on Dewi Lake and Taine Plumtree who suffered respective knee and shoulder injuries.

Taine Basham failed an HIA after being struck by a dangerous tackle by England captain Owen Farrell.

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