Injury to insult for Wales
Sun, 10 Nov 2013 11:41
It was the worst we've been aerially for some time
Wales’ woes were compounded in the wake of their loss to the Springboks in Cardiff on Saturday after confirmation that centre Jonathan Davies has been ruled out for the rest of the year.
Wales suffered a 15-24 loss to the Springboks despite five penalties from the boot of the metronomic Leigh Halfpenny.
Tries from captain Jean de Villiers, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and a second half effort from scrumhalf Fourie du Preez earned the win for Heyneke Meyer's side.
Wales were not helped by a number of significant injuries. Davies, Liam Williams and Adam Jones were all forced off during a hugely physical first 40 minutes.
Scott Andrews, who himself was a replacement, also went off injured as the intensity of the game led to its fair share of casualties.
Wales coach Warren Gatland confirmed that Davies will miss the Tests against Argentina, Tonga and Australia due to a pectoral injury and possibly part of next year’s Six Nations.
"Jonathan Davies has done a pec which will probably keep him out for the rest of the campaign," said Gatland.
"He was a big loss to us in the first half as he had made a couple of breaks. He is a pretty important player to us at the moment and he is pretty disappointed.
"I have just spoken to the physio and they said it might settle and he could be back in December.
"If he needs an operation it could be five months and out of the Six Nations as well. We will wait and see what happens.
"I think we handled the injuries really well. We were already without two key players in Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert so to lose a couple quite early on in the first half was disruptive but the boys handled it well.”
Gatland felt the aerial battle had a key impact on the defeat to South Africa and said there were positives the Six Nations champions could take out of the match.
"There were some missed opportunities. We were in the game and we've conceded some soft tries. It was the worst we've been aerially for some time and that's normally a strength of ours.
"There are some things for us to work on but there are a huge amount of positives. For the players and where they've come from, this was a huge step up in intensity.
"Possession and territory were pretty equal. We created more clean line breaks than they did but they were good in the air - that put us under pressure and we perhaps didn't communicate as well as we could have. We didn't handle that area of pressure which as I say, is normally a strength of ours.
"We'll continue to work on our battle in the air but sometimes you have those days and today wasn't one of our good ones.
"We've got Argentina and then Tonga and for us, you feel like we've gone one step forward and two steps back.
"The southern hemisphere teams have been together for a few months playing in the Rugby Championship and you could see that. They were pretty organised, didn't make a lot of mistakes and the turnovers were probably the telling factor between the two teams.
"They're a good side and we would have learnt a lot from today. Bring on the next three games."
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