Warren Gatland said Wales’s nerve-wracking win over Fiji on Sunday in a pulsating World Cup match was “significant”, although he had been “pretty angry” at the chaotic end.
The New Zealand-born head coach admitted there had been some dumb decisions taken on the pitch by his players as Fiji stormed back from 32-14 to make it an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Wales won 32-26.
Had Semi Radradra not spilled the ball in the last move of the match with the tryline begging Fiji would have had a kick at goal to win it. The extent of the Fijians pressure was reflected in Wales totalling 248 tackles.
“It is pretty significant for us as everyone expected Fiji to win,” Gatland told reporters. “What I am pleased about is there is some really positive stuff and some really good learnings for young players which will build our confidence.
“We had things under control and then unnecessarily made some dumb decisions and put ourselves under pressure. I was pretty frustrated and angry about last period of the game.
“However to me the sport is about being honest and make sure we learn from it.”
Gatland said he had been thinking of going down to the changing room once Wales moved 18 points ahead with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Gatland had no problem with flyhalf Dan Biggar mouthing off at fellow veteran George North at the end of the first half for choosing to run the ball out of their 22 instead of kicking it dead.
“It’s not personal, it’s professional,” said Gatland, who turns 60 later this month.
Biggar, who like his great Ireland rival Johnny Sexton on Saturday, became his country’s World Cup record points scorer with 12 points moving to 109.
“I think it would have been his mother’s birthday today and she passed away a few years ago,” said Gatland. “So today would have been pretty emotional for him. I hope she was looking down on him.”
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Romain Perrocheau/AFP