Warburton laments late lapses
June 17, 2012
Mike Harris punished Wales' lack of composure © Getty Images
Wales skipper Sam Warburton has admitted that fly-half Rhys Priestland broke ranks by clearing the ball in the dying embers of Saturday's loss to Australia, handing the Wallabies the chance they needed to snatch victory.
Queensland Reds fly-half Mike Harris stepped up to land the winning points in a 25-23 triumph after Priestland's kick resulted in a clutch of penalties to the Wallabies.
Warburton admitted his dismay at seeing the ball kicked downfield, having been stung in similar fashion by the Barbarians last year on his captaincy debut.
"The plan was to keep the ball," he told BBC Sport. "As the ball was kicked I remember Ryan Jones shouting 'no' at the top of his voice, it wasn't what the forwards were planning.
"It is a difficult one because there is a chance of there referee penalising us and it was still within kicking range for Australia so I can understand why the backs might have wanted to kick it.
"But from a forward point of view I would have wanted to back our contact skills and keep the ball as we have done successfully before. Hindsight is a great thing but that is what we should have done. I think a little bit of composure and patience was what was needed.
"I thought we had learned the lessons of that when we lost against the Barbarians last summer and as captain I said to myself I wouldn't let that happen again. But it did so obviously the message wasn't clear enough."
Wales face Australia in Sydney next weekend, with the Wallabies considering a recall for troubled Melbourne Rebels fullback Kurtley Beale.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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