Six Nations 2014: Coach Gatland defends Wales playing style

Warren Gatland

Coach Warren Gatland says Wales' execution and not playing style was the reason for the loss to Ireland.

Wales suffered a one-sided 26-3 defeat to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies said after the defeat that Gatland's side did not have a back-up plan to turn to in the Six Nations game.

"People wanted to be critical and saying, 'where's your Plan B'? Well, we didn't even execute Plan A well enough," said Gatland.

Wales' next game is against a France side which has won its opening two games in the tournament.

Gatland and his coaching team have been together since 2008, and Wales have won two Grand Slams in 2008 and 2012, and a Six Nations title in 2013.

The New Zealander also coached the British and Irish Lions to a 2-1 Test series victory over Australia in 2013.

Gatland claims criticism of Wales' playing style is misplaced and says his side played differently in the 23-15 victory against Italy than in the defeat to Ireland.

"I think when you lose games, the critics out there come and say they think they know the way we're playing," said Gatland.

"With both games we've played, we've played differently in both games.

"We haven't gone in with the same game-plan against Italy as we have against Ireland.

"People wanted to be critical and saying, 'where's your Plan B'? Well, we didn't even execute Plan A well enough.

"If you get those things wrong in terms of where we were dominated, Plan A or B or Z wouldn't have made a difference to the result.

"We just weren't good enough on the day.

"We tended to come off 10 [the fly-half] against Italy a bit more and were a bit more expansive. We were a bit more off nine [the scrum-half] against Ireland.

"It just didn't happen for us."

Wales have beaten France on the two previous occasions the side have met in the Six Nations.

Wing George North scored a late try to give Wales a 16-6 win in Paris last season, while wing Alex Cuthbert scored the only try in the 16-9 victory in Cardiff in 2012.

Gatland says his Wales side can be confident ahead of the visit of France on Friday, 21 February.

"I think we can go into that French game with a certain amount of confidence at home that we're good enough to win," said Gatland.

"When they've got a few points up they play with a bit of confidence, but there were a couple of turnover opportunities that they took.

"I thought Italy were in the game for long periods, particularly in the first half.

"France have had a couple of chances to score and have taken those, but not from anything hugely creative.

"That's a good win for them and a good confidence boost for them winning their first two games, and for us the next game at home is a massive game for us."

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