Gatland dismisses BOD sideshow

Sun, 02 Feb 2014 09:20
Large warren gatland media2 Large brian o driscoll runs out Large wales v italy

Wales coach Warren Gatland insists next weekend's match against Ireland would not be blighted by any fall-out from his relationship with Brian O'Driscoll.

Wales coach Warren Gatland insists the champions' upcoming Six Nations match against Ireland would not be blighted by any lingering fall-out from his relationship with Brian O'Driscoll.

Gatland, who as Ireland coach gave the star centre his Test debut, came in for fierce criticism when, as British and Irish Lions boss, he dropped the Irish centre great for the deciding final Test against Australia in Sydney last year, which the combined side won 41-16 to seal a 2-1 series triumph.

"As far as I am concerned, that's dead and gone," Gatland said after seeing Wales launch their bid for an unprecedented third straight outright Six Nations title with a hard-fought 23-15 win over Italy in Cardiff on Saturday.

"It's not about Brian and myself. Brian has moved on, I have moved on. It is about 46 players and two nations playing an international next weekend.

"The game is more important than myself and Brian, and if people want to make an issue out of that for next week, to me it is just lazy journalism. Move on," the New Zealander insisted ahead of Ireland's tournament bow at home to Scotland on Sunday.

On paper, Wales could not have wished for a better fixture with which to launch their hat-trick quest than a Millennium Stadium clash against Italy.

The Azzurri kicked off having lost their last 15 Six Nations fixtures away from Rome.

Everything was going Wales's way as they established a 14-point lead at the break after first-half tries by wing Alex Cuthbert and centre Scott Williams.

But Italy came storming back into the match courtesy of a second-half try double from impressive centre Michele Campagnaro only for a couple of late penalties from Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny to seal a home win.

"It was tough," said Gatland. "We've got to give Italy a lot of credit."

The Azzurri won twice during last season's Six Nations and Gatland forecast further Italian success in this edition.

"We definitely kept them in the game in terms of a couple of crucial turnovers and an intercept, but we are off to a reasonable start and I wouldn't be surprised if Italy win a few games in this competition."

However, Gatland was glad to see Wales come through a hard-fought opener.

"It will focus the minds for next week [when Wales play Ireland in Dublin on February 8]. It wasn't an easy run-out and it was tough, which was the way we wanted it.

"There are just a few things for us to fix up on in terms of making sure we are a bit more accurate and clinical. We know we get stronger as a tournament goes on. It's that first one, and now we can look forward to the rest of it."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Mon, 08 February 2016
UP-Tuks v NWU-Pukke 14h45 Pretoria
UWC v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
Maties v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Stellenbosch
UJ v NMMU-Madibaz 16h30 Johannesburg
Wits v TUT 16h30 Johannesburg
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 17h00 Cape Town
Fri, 12 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Zebre 22h00 RDS Arena
Sat, 13 February 2016
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Saracens v Wasps 15h00 Allianz Park
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 16h00 Kingston Park
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 1 1 0 0 2
France 1 1 0 0 2
Ireland 1 0 1 0 1
Wales 1 0 1 0 1
Italy 1 0 0 1 0
Scotland 1 0 0 1 0