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“It Was Just Off Nine, Off Nine, Off Nine” – Gatland Sums Up Ireland’s Style

Warren Gatland

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With a summer that yielded three losses out of four, you could forgive Wales head coach Warren Gatland for being a little bit worried heading to the World Cup. 

However, like all head coaches, Gatland will be confident that he will have his players primed for their opening match of the World Cup, which in Wales’ case, is a match with Georgia on September 23.

Speaking in the aftermath of his side’s 19-10 loss to Ireland at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Saturday, the Kiwi head coach told the media that Ireland provided a template to Georgia as to how to cause problems for his side.

“Ireland probably gave Georgia a template for how to try to play against us,” Gatland said.

Warren Gatland

“It’s difficult to stop a team playing that way when they’re good at the breakdown and getting some collision dominance. They were effective at it. Particularly in the second half, they went to the air well and basically choked us a bit in that second half.”

Gatland said that Ireland produced a performance which they are traditionally good at, which according to him, is playing one-off runners off the scrum-half.

“Ireland went back to what they’re traditionally good at.

“I think 85% of that second half was just off nine, off nine, off nine…and Bundee Aki was effective on the gain line stuff.

Gatland added:

“In the past when we’ve been successful against Ireland, is making sure that when they play that way, you got to be a bit more collision-dominant in that area and your discipline has to be good. And we probably had two areas of the game that were disappointing for us.

“Pleased with our setpiece, our scrum and lineout was good. And was pleased with how positive we were in that first half, we just didn’t have enough territory and possession in the second half.”

Warren Gatland

Gatland described Ireland’s style of play as “effective” but made the point that his side weren’t caused any problems from any expansive play from the hosts.

“Because they’ll just play phase after phase after phase to see if they can get a penalty chance, kick the ball down the field and then try to squeeze you in your 22. When we’ve had been effective against Ireland, when we’ve had won matches, it’s because our discipline has been good and we’ve stopped that collision-dominance off nine.

“They were good in that area but they didn’t play any expansive rugby at all that troubled us out wide.”

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter