Wales 9-29 New Zealand
Gatland proud in defeat
November 22, 2008
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Wales coach Warren Gatland was proud of his players' performance despite going down 29-9 to New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium.
But he believes Wales must learn to produce an 80 minutes of rugby rather than just a 40-minute performance if they are to beat the best sides in the world.
"For 40 minutes I was pretty happy," he said. "But New Zealand were able to keep the intensity for the whole 80 minutes. We brought the best out of the All Blacks which is what we wanted to do. They are clearly the best side in the world and I'm pleased that we showed out there that if we can do it for longer periods we are not too far away. We will take a lot of learning from that."
Wales led 9-6 at half-time through three Stephen Jones penalties but a strong second-half showing by the All Blacks left the home side without a win against New Zealand since 1953.
Dan Carter guided New Zealand to victory over the RBS 6 Nations champions with a 19-point haul at the Millennium Stadium. Carter booted five penalties and converted tries by centre Ma'a Nonu and flanker Jerome Kaino to leave New Zealand needing victory over England next Saturday to complete a successful grand slam tour.
Gatland added: "We are really proud of the first 40 minutes but we couldn't keep it up for the full 80 minutes We've had South Africa last week, New Zealand today and Australia next week. You only get better by playing the best teams. We need to improve in terms of the penalties we were giving away and some of the set-pieces .
"If we learn from the sort of things the All Blacks do we are going to improve. When we kept the ball in the first half and played with that tempo and intensity we showed what a good side we were and we showed that we could put them under pressure. What we can't do at the moment is put them under pressure for 80 minutes.
"We had a share of possession and territory in the first half but that dropped away in the second half. They scored a try when we were down to 13 men, when we had a couple of injuries, and that's what they are so good at doing. They haven't conceded any tries in their three games so far. So they are strong defensively. We were a bit unlucky when Lee Byrne went through."
On Wales standing their ground when New Zealand did the Haka captain Ryan Jones said: "We wanted to show it was our stadium, our pitch and our fans.
"We were confident going into the game. We had huge belief in the heart and the soul of this team and the individuals who wore the jersey. It is a pretty disappointed changing room. If we can polish up a few things we will get closer and closer."
On the performance of the forwards, assistant coach Robin McBryde added: "I think as a pack they are aware there is another step to go. "There is still few areas we can work on. The first half was particularly sound and that we managed to keep them away from our line from a series of scrums. But there is another step we need to take."