Wales looking to 'close the gap'
Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:59
Maybe the gap will be closer next week
Warren Gatland has admited that his team were not prepared for the Springboks pace, intensity and physicality as they succumbed to a 16-38 defeat in Durban.
The South Africans got off to a flyer when all-time try-scoring record holder Bryan Habana went over the white-wash in the 7th minute thanks to some Willie le Roux magic.
Possession and territory eluded the travelling Welsh as they were forced into defensive patterns throughout the first half.
Gatland, looking ahead to the Nespruit Test, is clearly aware that his charges will need to make a drastic step up if they are to be competitive.
"We were outmuscled physically in the first half," the Welsh boss said following the Durban Test.
"The pace, intensity and physicality the Springboks came with in the first half we really struggled to cope with.
"We need to learn from Saturday's game and tidy up some things for next week.
"If we can be more clinical then maybe the gap will be closer next week.
"I was a bit like the game against Australia two years ago. We didn't look fit enough out there in the first half.
"We got to grips with the pace of the game in the second half, but we are really disappointed.
"We have to look at that second-half performance and we have to work hard on the breakdown and be more physical in the collision area.
"Because we were very poor in the first half we need to feel disappointed over the next 48-72 hours.
"But then we need to get back on the horse, work hard and be much better next weekend."
Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones blamed his side's inability to take their chances in the early exchanges for a poor first-half performance.
"We had four opportunities in the first-half and we didn't complete them. They had two and took them both," said Jones.
"The damage was done in the first half - we were lacklustre in keeping the ball and we can't do that. When we did keep the ball we tested their defence."
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