Rugby World Cup: Gatland laments poor kicking display

Wales head coach rues missed opportunities after defeat by Australia at Eden Park on Friday

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Rugby World Cup - Third place play-off, 21 October 2011, Eden Park
team1
Wales
18 - 21
team2
Australia

Wales head coach Warren Gatland was critical of his side’s kicking display after they slumped to a 18-21 defeat by Australia to finish fourth at the World Cup on Friday.

Gatland blamed the loss on wasted opportunities after fly-half James Hook failed to score a conversion and penalty as the Wallabies emerged victorious in Auckland.

“At this level you have to take your opportunities,” said Gatland. “Unfortunately on these big occasions our goal kicking has let us down.

“If we look at the past those kickers who have been taking goals have been in the 80s [per cent]. James missed one almost in front of the posts. It’s pretty important in the scheme of things and it’s probably what cost us.”

“I’m proud of the way we finished, we’ve just come up short again today, but we’ve enjoyed the tournament. It’s a shame we couldn’t finish it off with the win.”

Wales stand-in captain Gethin Jenkins hailed his sides’ effort and performance at the tournament, describing their semi-final appearance as a remarkable accomplishment.

“To get to the semis is a great achievement for this group of players,” said Jenkins. “We talked about creating history and to come fourth, while it’s not as good as third, is still an improvement on the last couple of World Cups.”

Jenkins also paid tribute to their conquerors at Eden Park on Friday. “We know how good Australia are, and they competed well,” he said.

“We tried to play a little too much rugby and it cost us with turnovers and the tries they scored. But we kept working to the end.”

MORE:

MORE: Have your say on Facebook

MORE: The latest football news

MORE: The latest tennis news

The Sport Review
Friendly rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer celebrate ‘the great memories we shared’
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
The Sport Review
Lineker sends message to Arsenal fans after 5-2 win over Everton
The Sport Review
Jose Mourinho confirms return of key Man United star for Tottenham clash
The Sport Review
Gary Neville pinpoints where Man United need to improve