Gatland prepared for the worst
February 6, 2012
Wales lock Bradley Davies is given his marching orders during his side's narrow Six Nations victory over Ireland © Getty Images
Davies looks certain to miss next Sunday's clash against Scotland in Cardiff a dangerous tip-tackle on Ireland replacement Donnacha Ryan. The offence was punished with a yellow card from referee Wayne Barnes, following a recommendation from his assistant Dave Pearson, with a citing sure to follow as it was clearly a red card offence.
Captain Sam Warburton, meanwhile, went off at half-time with a dead leg, and he should have a clearer idea today or tomorrow about his fitness prospects for next weekend.
Italian Achille Reali, the independent match citing commissioner, has until 5pm on Tuesday to make a decision on Davies, who would then face a disciplinary hearing later this week.
Wales coach Warren Gatland, though, has admitted he is fearing the worst, with Davies likely to join injured second-row forwards Luke Charteris and Alun-Wyn Jones on the sidelines. A ban of four weeks or more cannot be ruled out.
"We've got to plan, potentially, for him being cited," Gatland said. "I've seen a replay, and I won't deny it wasn't fantastic. Potentially, we have got to prepare for the worst. When you go behind with 15 minutes to go and you have a yellow card, you don't have a lot of time to get back into the game."
Flanker Dan Lydiate, who missed the Dublin trip because of an ankle injury, could be available to face Scotland, which might mean Ryan Jones - who took over as skipper when Warburton departed - lining up in the second-row if Davies is unavailable.
Wales triumphed at the Aviva Stadium courtesy of Leigh Halfpenny's 80th-minute penalty, which was awarded when Irish flanker Stephen Ferris, who was sin-binned, tip-tackled Ian Evans. But Gatland added: "We were reasonably lucky. I thought we were only at about 70%. The displeasing thing was a bit of a lack of discipline with the yellow card. We got out of jail, but we've won our first game of the tournament away from home.
"We were down at half-time in the World Cup against Samoa, but we kept our patience and finished on top of them. That is what Test match rugby is all about, taking your opportunities. This win has given us massive confidence, and we are dangerous when we are playing with belief and confidence. We know there is a lot of improvement in our game."
On his injury, Warburton said: "I will go back and have treatment, and the physios will make the call. The game reminded me a bit of the World Cup semi-final [Warburton was sent off]. It's horrible being sat on the bench not being able to influence the game, but I am chuffed to bits. I think there is a lot more to come from this team."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September