Gibson laments porous defence

Sun, 05 Mar 2017 07:24

REACTION: Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson said that his team were their own worst enemy in allowing their discipline and defence to fall by the wayside against the Lions in Johannesburg.

The Waratahs suffered their first defeat of the 2017 Super Rugby season after losing 55-36 to the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Sydney-based side conceded two yellow cards and missed 29 tackles en route to conceding eight tries throughout the eighty minutes.

"The referee saw something in us that warranted penalties. 

"Obviously, that first yellow card [Reece Robinson for spear tackle] was probably justified by the fact that we infringed two or three times trying to stop the rolling maul and then the law is very clear around lifting tackles," said Gibson.

The Lions managed to get plenty of momentum from the rolling maul throughout the game and Lions captain Warren Whiteley scored the opening try of the match off the back of a powerful driving maul.

The Waratahs suffered an injury set back hours before kick-off after Wallabies lock Will Skelton was forced to withdraw from the squad because of a hamstring strain. 

Gibson explained that the absence of Skelton did not contribute to his team's weakness at the set-piece, but insisted that the Waratahs got their tactics wrong at the maul.

"I wouldn't say we missed him [Will Skelton]. I think we technically got things wrong. 

"I think every team has injuries, it's part of the year and calling on your squad," said Gibson.

Gibson was lost for words on his team's 29 missed tackles during the match. However, he congratulated the Lions on a well-deserved victory.

"That's a horrific tackle stat, but then I'm not going to take anything away from the Lions, they played particularly well tonight [Saturday], so credit to them," he added.

Looking ahead to the Waratahs third round Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Durban next weekend, Gibson added that the Waratahs will be at their best now that their first game on tour is out the way. He also expects the likes of injured players Will Skelton and Nick Phipps (ankle injury) to be available for selection.

"I expect a really competitive game. 

"The advantage is that it's our second week on tour. We are looking forward to getting down to Durban, we enjoy touring there and we expect to have a much stronger team," explained Gibson. 

The Waratahs currently sit in seventh position on the Australasian group with four points from two matches played, which includes a 19-13 victory over the Western Force in their opening game of the 2017 Super Rugby season, which was played at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney last weekend.

By Josh Isaacson, in Johannesburg
@isaacson_j
@rugby365com

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