Gatland rues Jones' indiscipline
February 6, 2010
James Haskell crossed for England's first try while Alun-Wyn Jones was in the sin-bin © Getty Images
Alun-Wyn Jones will be keeping a low profile around the Welsh camp this week after his coach Warren Gatland gave him a public admonishment for picking up a yellow card against England.
The Lions second-row was dismissed for a foot-trip towards the end of a tightly contested first half, and in the period he was off the pitch England notched up 17 points. And Gatland said the lock may lose his place as a result of the dismissal.
"Absolutely," he said. "It's huge if a player costs us a game you make a decision and it's something that we'll look at next week. We need fifteen players on the field, particularly as we'd discussed it during the week. We spoke about trusting the system, trusting the defence and trusting your teammates and we didn't do that sometimes today.
"I did (think Wales could win at the end). Another intercept try but for me the most disappointing thing was to concede 17 points when were down to 14 men. We've talked all week about keeping our discipline and not giving anything stupid away and it's cost us the game. 14 men and concede 17 points. Game over."
"We've just got to front up and be honest. Shaun Edwards just said in the dressing room "I hope you never, ever do that again in your career." What he's done is totally stupid and it's cost Wales the game."
Gatland though, praised his team's second-half recovery that threatened a repeat of their 2008 fightback win when Wales trailed 19-6 and ended up winning by seven points.
"We got some quality ball in the second half," he added. "We looked incredibly dangerous with quick ball. At 20-17 (behind), I thought we were going to win the match, but unfortunately we then threw an intercept pass. It is a feeling of complete frustration, but I am proud with the guts the players showed to come back like they did. I am really proud of the performance in terms of the character we showed, and I think you will see a really positive reaction."
Wales skipper Ryan Jones said, "Alun-Wyn has been around a long time. He made a mistake and he paid the price, but there were 70 other minutes in the game and if we had dragged it back we wouldn't be talking about it. Ill-discipline cost us, and we paid the ultimate price, but it's not all over yet. We are one game into this competition. It's a case of dealing with the here and now. You win this game and things then tend to bounce your way - you lose this game and a bit of pressure comes on. We have to deal with it. It's one of the beauties - or burdens - of international sport."
A year ago, Gatland's opposite number Martin Johnson was overseeing English indiscipline, but while he was happy with the win, the former World Cup winning captain said his side have much to work on.
"I thought we played well at times and at times we didn't and ultimately, as we've said before, these game turn on little things and when they came back into it, we were under pressure and the guys got the score that counted to win the game," Johnson said.
"I was happy with how the guys played and responded. There's a lot of hype, a lot of pressure for these games and we came out and played. I think probably tried to play a bit much at times in the first half and got caught for a few turnovers but when the chances came I thought we were very patient.
"We lost our way a little bit in the middle of the second half, we turned the ball over and kicked the ball away and gave them a chance to get back into it, which they did. Defensively, we were a bit narrow at times and they scored their tries. But ultimately, we finished it and two years ago we were in a similar position and lost. I'm happy, we've lots and lots to work and I think both teams will get a lot better but ultimately you've got to win the game and 30 points against Wales is a good start.
"I thought the patience we showed was good," he said. "We had been there a little bit in the past year or so and not turned opportunities into points. We had a big focus not to start the second half flat. We wanted to raise the tempo, and I thought Danny Care did a tremendous job.
"The disappointing bit was losing our way in the middle period of the second half. They got a bit of pressure on our scrum. They scored two tries and we were under pressure, but ultimately we found a way to win and we took our try at the end very well. You have to find a way to win, and we did."
Johnson accepted that England have much to work on going into next weekend's clash against Italy, which is followed by a home clash against reigning Six Nations champions Ireland 13 days later.
He added, "We've had some tough losses, and games turn on small things, but we know there are lots and lots to get better at. There is a lot of improvement in us, and no-one is getting carried away. The guys understand they did some things well and some other things not so well."
His captain Steve Borthwick backed his players and manager who have come in for heavy criticism after some lacklustre performances in the autumn. "I'm always very proud of the guys," he said. "I see how much hard work everybody puts in and while sometimes it doesn't come to fruition on the field, today for large spells it did. I think the people that matter haven't criticised this team.
"We've been very tight and Martin's doing a great job. I and all the players are learning a hell of a lot from him and we said at the start of this tournament that we'd concentrate on the first game, but we'll be better next week. That's what everybody's focus will be."