Wales coach Warren Gatland has claimed that ‘Ireland don’t play a lot rugby’ after his side ended Ireland’s unbeaten home run.
The New Zealander was adamant that he never felt under threat by what Ireland threw at them on an afternoon that they dominated the breakdown.
Ireland haven’t been beaten at the Aviva Stadium since the heartbreaking last-gasp defeat to New Zealand in 2013 and although they very nearly stole victory at the death this afternoon, Gatland insisted that his side were ‘comfortable’ throughout.
Gatland’s stance might have different had Sean Cronin managed to get the ball down in injury time but he seemed to suggest that he had figured out Ireland's game-plan that has worked so well for them over the last two years.
“I don’t think Ireland play a lot of rugby,” Gatland remarked.
“I thought they were really narrow at times. When they play that game effectively and use their one-off runners, it gets them success from cross-kicks. That’s what they’re good at doing.
“They’re good at pressurising you, forcing you into turnovers and building a score but we didn’t feel like we were troubled at all in wide channels.
“They got some turnovers and some kick returns that put us under pressure but when they played with the ball in hand, we didn’t feel like we were under a huge amount of pressure.
“Apart from a couple of silly penalties, I thought we looked comfortable defensively. We just felt that we weren’t under any pressure from what they threw at us.”
Asked if he felt Ireland would enhance their game plan for the World Cup, Gatland smiled:
“I’m sure they’re like us in that they haven’t brought everything to the table yet and are keeping things behind for the next few weeks,” he suggested.
“If we showed everything that we’re looking to do, today then there isn’t going to be surprises for that first big game against England in Twickenham.
“They’ve got a style and game-plan that’s been incredibly successful for them. Sometimes it’s hard to move away from that. Sometimes our criticism is that we play too much rugby and you’ve got to say ‘keep it simple and kick the ball on’.
“I’m not being critical of Ireland because what Ireland and Joe have achieved is outstanding. They’ve got a formula that has been successful for them but I’m sure they’ll tweak a few things and look to try and add things to their game.”
“We knew the whole focus and preparation for this campaign was to win a big game away from home. I know it was close at the end and Ireland could have won it, which would have been heartbreaking for us but potentially it could have been a lot more comfortable for us."
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