June International Tours

Frustration for Jenkins

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Wales Coach Gareth Jenkins expressed his frustration at the way Wales conceded a 17-0 lead to go down to a last-ditch, 29-23 defeat to Australia in the first Test at Telstra Stadium on Saturday.

Man of the match James Hook put Wales ahead with a calmly taken drop-goal with eight minutes left, but the Wallabies launched one last desperate attack and as they have done so often before, made it count.

After watching replacement number eight Stephen Hoiles cross after Wales gifted possession to the never-say-die Wallabies, Jenkins said: “You can argue we missed an opportunity and it will be said, but we’ve been competitive.

“We were ridiculed for the type of team we brought here, but we justified our selection and the group of players who are here.

“We’ve been very competitive in a close game and it went down to the last 50 seconds. We’re bitterly disappointed as you can imagine, but we’ll use this frustration and emotion to drive us towards the second Test in Brisbane next weekend.

“Both teams would argue they should have won the game. It was close – whoever would have won it we would have shaken each other’s hands and accepted it, as we did.

“Australia scored a great try when they had to hold the ball and go through the phases. They did enough to actually create that overlap opportunity and congratulations to them for doing that.

“We’ll have to look at it as if we let it slip. We were in front, in the driving seat and had possession that we should have run the clock down on, but we didn’t do that.

“We’re frustrated, but at the same time we’ve been competitive and next weekend’s Test match is something to look forward to.

“Australia put a lot of pressure on our line-out and we’ll take the lessons out of that experience and it’s an area we’ll work on this week.”

Wallabies coach John Connolly said: “I don’t know if Wales were fortunate to go 17-0 ahead. I suppose we helped them get in that position though.

“I looked at the screen at one time and we had 85% of the possession, 85% of the territory and we were down 17-0.

“If you play loosely against any good team you are going to pay for it and they had the ability and the pace to capitalise on our mistakes. There is no doubt we had to dig our way out of it. Traditionally June tests are tight.

“But they are a good side. Any team who had 456 Test caps, experience across the board and flankers that attack the ball, a number 10 that kicks goals and wheels them around the field and enough pace outside if you are a little loose you will pay.

“We shoveled the ball from side to side. We didn’t go forward. We have to improve at the breakdown. There were a lot of pluses that came out of the match for us but generally we helped Wales’ cause big time.

“It was the structure of the game that disappointed us the most. We went backwards and forwards without doing the hard work first. We trained pretty well but again it is wonderful to be able to train during the week on the back of a win, not of a loss.

“And even the fact that we dug ourselves out of a hole like we did will give this team a lot of confidence.

“There was a lot of resolve – it is not easy to come back from 17-0, regardless of who you are playing against, and come back with a reasonable win.

“I was proud of the Wallabies. They fought hard. We do have a bit of a mentality here at times where we do criticise our own pretty well but I am not going to criticise players at all.

“They need all our support out there and I think we need to give credit to the opposition. I was happy with our effort but our execution wasn’t good and that is what we have to improve on.”

Wales must await the medical verdict on head injury victim Brent Cockbain ahead of the second Test next Saturday in Brisbane.

 

365 Digital

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