We’ll Get There, Says Gats

Warren Gatland knows international sport is about results, but for the time being he is urging Wales fans to try and enjoy the ride.

It’s been a bumpy one so far in the Six Nations, with a narrow defeat to England on Saturday following the one-point loss to Scotland.

That leaves Wales without a victory so far, but the head coach insists the future is bright for his young team.

A 16-14 defeat to England at Twickenham – after Gatland’s men had led 14-5 – means Wales have now lost nine out of their last 10 matches in the tournament.

“It’s pretty disappointing really,” said Gatland after Wales followed defeat to Scotland with a familiar setback at Twickenham, with matches against Ireland and France to follow.

“I’m proud of the performance and the effort of the players out there, but we’re disappointed we didn’t come away with the win.

“It’s part of the journey we’re on in terms of developing as a team. I said to the players we’re not there yet but we’re going to be a bloody good team going forward.

“And this was part of that process in terms of learning about game management.

“I’m really proud of the effort. We felt really good at half-time and didn’t feel under pressure. On a few occasions we didn’t get the rub of the green in the second half and that’s rugby.”

George Ford’s late penalty ensured England overturned a nine-point deficit to make it two wins from two for their own young side.

Gatland added: “My message for the Welsh public is to have a bit of patience.

“Hopefully people on the outside can see what we’re trying to do as a squad.

“We’ve got a spectrum of players. Some players are incredibly young and finding their feet, while some players are in for the experience.

“I’m excited by this group. I just think what we’ve shown in the last couple of weeks, we know it’s things that will make us a lot better and we will improve.

“We’ve got a group of youngsters and our role as coaches is to make them better and learn from those experiences.

“They’ve made a massive amount of progress in a few weeks.

“The fact we’re playing a quality side in Ireland next, it will be a level up.”

Wales next play Ireland in Dublin on February 24, before hosting France on March 10 and then Italy on March 16.

“The boys are desperate to get a win,” added Gatland.

That’s a view echoed by captain Dafydd Jenkins, who says there is no sugar-coating the results in Test rugby.

“It’s extremely disappointing, but I’m proud of the boys for sticking in it every time,” said Jenkins.

“But it’s international rugby and it’s all about winning. Two losses hurts a lot.

“It’s a special game, Wales against England. As you grow up you always want to be a part of it and get the win. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”

England are in a similar rebuilding phase as Wales, but after a narrow win over Italy in Rome, they are unbeaten after two rounds of the tournament under coach Steve Borthwick, who also led them to the World Cup semi-finals.

Borthwick said: “The first thing we can take from that is we’re a team that stays in the fight and finds a way.

“Was there improvements in that from last weekend? Yes there was, and it shows the work we’re doing and the players are doing each day is paying dividends.”

Ireland made it back-to-back bonus-point wins with a 36-0 home win over Italy at the weekend and currently top the table as they seek to become the first team to win successive Grand Slams.

Wales haven’t won a Championship match in the Irish capital since 2012. Since then, it has been 6-4 to the Irish, with one game drawn, in Six Nations encounters.


“The boys have a couple of days off to freshen up and then we’ll start preparing for what is a quality side at the moment in Ireland. Our focus is on getting better from game to game,” added Gatland.

“I think we’ve done that. We came out and started well against England after the second half last week – we just have to make sure we take the learnings from the two games.”