Wales told to get real

Attack coach Nigel Davies insists Wales must ditch romantic notions of replicating the ‘high risk’ style that won the 2005 Six Nations Grand Slam and get realistic.

Senior players Stephen Jones and Martyn Williams called for a tactical review after Saturday’s 32-20 World Cup defeat to Australia, arguing Wales had been ‘too structured’ and played straight into Wallaby hands.

Wales were 25-3 down at half-time and only caused Australia problems once they cut the shackles and began to play with the same width and flair which carried them to glory in 2005.

Wales made a similarly slow start against Canada and Jones wants the constraints lifted so they can ‘play the rugby that suits us from the first minute’.

Davies agreed Wales is at their best when playing off-the-cuff rugby – but he insisted constant comparisons with that Grand Slam team is not only unhelpful but out of touch.

“I don’t want to take anything away from what was achieved in 2005. It was a fabulous achievement and Wales played some attractive rugby. It was high-risk rugby and it paid off,” said Davies.

“But that was one year. We all realise the game moves on. Having a mix in the game is important.”

“You can’t play just one style of rugby. You have to have a kicking game, you have to have a direct game and you have to have width in your game.”

“We obviously play one style of rugby better than the others but that mix needs to be there and it needs to be worked on.”

“It is a matter of getting a game that we are all comfortable with which is a winning game, an effective game and suits the style of players we have.”

The impression given by the players after the game was that their ambitions to play open, attacking rugby are not wholly matched by the coaching staff.

The Wales management was anxious to put the concerns voiced by Jones and Williams into some context and play down suggestions of a rift in the camp.

“The game-plan we have identified throughout our reign here has been based around a major input from the players,” said Davies.

“They know the style they want to play, they know their strengths and we have very similar views.”

“One of our main objectives on Saturday was to go at Australia and play against them, rather than be conservative.”

“We know we are at our best when the players are reading the picture in front of them and playing against that picture.”

“What we had on Saturday was a plan we had all agreed to start the game with.”

Unfortunately, when you are playing the second best team in the world they have a say in that too.”


365 Digital

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