Ellis Jenkins has said that Wales must play better when they have a numerical advantage, after they claimed a last-gasp win against 14-man Australia.
Australia were reduced to 14 men in the 15th minute when Rob Valetini was shown a red card for a high tackle on Adam Beard, which also ended the Welsh lock’s time on the pitch.
It was the sixth match this year in which a team playing Wales have gotten a red card, but despite ample amounts of practice, the Welsh are yet to figure out how to capitalise on their opposition being reduced to 14 men.
Welsh captain Jenkins was speaking to WalesOnline after his team narrowly defeated the Wallabies and acknowledged that they struggle against other teams even when they have an extra man for most of the game.
Ellis Jenkins on Wales’ struggles against 14 men.
“I am not sure you can force anyone to make a high tackle on a guy who is 6ft 8in,” Jenkins said of Valetini’s red card challenge.
“I am not sure we can take any credit for that, really. It’s part of the game at the moment, it is a red-hot topic, and people are perhaps struggling to make the shift. As soon as you saw the one today, there was no doubt it was going to be a red card.
“We have got to get better playing against 14 men, because we seem to struggle a little bit – whether that is relying on the red card to win us the game or whatever – but that can’t be something we rely on.”
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 21, 2021
Are red cards papering over cracks in this Welsh side?
Wales can be happy with their results in 2021, after a woeful 2020 which saw them finish fifth in both the Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup.
However, their performances have often been lacking, and they have been helped tremendously by their opponents’ lack of discipline, as red cards guided them to victories against Ireland, Scotland, Fiji and Australia.
Despite their numerical advantage they were made to work very hard for those four wins, while on two occasions they were unable to claim victories after their opposition was shown a red card.
France beat them late on despite Paul Willemse being given his marching orders, while they could only salvage a draw against Argentina in July when Juan Cruz Mallia was sent off with just 29 minutes played.
Wayne Pivac’s side do look to have improved on their performances since 2020, but there are still plenty of reasons for Wales’ head coach to worry ahead of next year.