Hore: Gatland reserves judgement
Hore: Gatland reserves judgementSHARE
Warren Gatland was left to rue three early injuries as his Welsh side went down 33-10 to the All Blacks, but hailed the spirit of a second-half comeback against the world champions.
The game at a packed Millennium Stadium featured a ferocious, no-holds barred opening quarter that saw three Welshmen helped off.
In the opening minute, All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore took out lock Bradley Davies with a cynical swinging arm to the head and then tighthead prop Aaron Jarvis suffered a nasty knee injury.
Centre Jamie Roberts followed soon after with a hip injury, leaving Wales desperately struggling to make do against a dangerous All Blacks team.
Davies was later admitted to hospital with concussion, but a diplomatic Gatland said he was reserving judgement.
"We'll leave the citing commissioner to have a look at it," said the Kiwi, who will coach the British and Irish Lions on tour to Australia next year.
"I haven't had a good look at the incident involving Bradley Davies but I think he has been hit from behind. We are taking him to hospital, he doesn't know exactly where he is right now.
"You don't associate the All Blacks with cheap shots and I hope it's not the case. Brad's gone down in a heap. Fingers crossed that he recovers."
Gatland said it had taken the team some considerable time to recover from the "unsettling" triple injury blow, and played down a controversial decision to spurn penalty shots for going for touch and attacking line-outs.
"That was how we planned to play in the first half," he said. "You have to take some risks against the All Blacks, but it doesn't help when you kick two of those penalties dead.
"But it was only 6-0 at that stage when we kicked to the corner."
Gatland added: "We are disappointed by that first half, but a lesser team might have thrown in the towel against the world champions. I think we grew into the game and I was proud of the way they took the game to the All Blacks.
"It took us some time to come to terms with the pace and intensity," he said. "But we kept taking the game to the All Blacks.
"We were disappointed to concede that try at half-time.
"We went out there and dominated territory and possession in the second-half against an outstanding All Black team, and put them under pressure."
Wales scored tries through Scott Williams and impressive winger Alex Cuthbert in the second period, but by that stage the visitors had already scored three of their own through Liam Messam, Tony Woodcock and Luke Romano.
Unlike Wales, New Zealand also took their shots at goal, with fly-half Aaron Cruden bagging 18 points with the boot.
Wales' November series ends next week against Australia, who won a summer three-Test series against the Welsh.
Gatland said the Wallabies would be "particularly up for next week".
"We've had some pretty close encounters recently."