Six Nations 2015: George North right to play on, says Gatland

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland succeeded Gareth Jenkins as Wales coach ahead of the 2008 Six Nations
RBS Six Nations: Scotland v Wales
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh Date: Sunday, 15 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMTCoverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer, S4C online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV; text commentary on the BBC Sport website.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has backed the decision to let George North finish the 21-16 defeat to England.

North, 22, twice took heavy blows to the head during the match and had to leave the field in the first half to be assessed for concussion.

After the game Gatland said: "The medical team definitely wouldn't have allowed him back on the field unless they were 100% confident that he was okay.

"He seems fine at the moment."

Gatland says a poor Rhys Webb kick and line-out errors were among the reasons Wales lost Friday's Six Nations opener at the Millennium Stadium.

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George North mid-match concussion assessment 'tokenism', says Dr Barry O'Driscoll

Wales led 16-8 at the break, but England scored 13 unanswered points in the second half to win.

"Rhys Webb, he's done a box-kick that's gone straight up in the air, that's put us under a huge amount of pressure," said Gatland.

He added throwing-in problems also harmed Wales, who he felt failed to capitalise on line-out chances.

"We had two attacking line-outs well inside the England half and we've had an overthrow and a free-kick for a 'double' throw," said Gatland.

He did not mention hooker Richard Hibbard by name, but the forward was responsible for the throws Gatland cited.

Both Gatland and captain Sam Warburton said England's second-half display earned them victory.

Wales in the 2015 Six Nations
Friday, 6 February: Wales 16-21 England
Sunday, 15 February: Scotland (Murrayfield)
Saturday, 28 February: France (Paris)
Saturday, 14 March: Ireland (Cardiff)
Saturday, 21 March: Italy (Rome)

The win for Stuart Lancaster's side was in stark contrast to their last Millennium Stadium visit that ended in a 30-3 defeat and killed their 2013 Grand Slam hopes and gave Wales the title.

The overall tally between the teams is now Wales 56-58 England with 12 draws.

And while Gatland and Warburton hope Wales can recover and win the next four Six Nations games to challenge for the title, they must also go to Twickenham on 26 September to face England in their 2015 World Cup pool.

Gatland said: "It was probably the third quarter that hurt us the most, a bit of inaccuracy, a few turnovers.

"It was a tight Test match, we played pretty well in the first half, England played well in the second half and got up to win the game.

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2015 Six Nations highlights: Wales 16-21 England

"It's not so much the tempo that England played with, it's probably our inaccuracy."

He added: "Even if we'd won today, I don't think you can read too much into it ahead of the World Cup in seven months."

Warburton said Wales needed to regroup and win their remaining games, starting against Scotland on Sunday, 15 February at Murrayfield.

He also felt his side coped well in the wake of wing Alex Cuthbert's second-half sin-binning.

"It's not the start we wanted. Four games to go and three of them are away," Warburton said.

"You can't win the championship winning just three games, so we're going to have to win every game now.

Sam Warburton attempts to bring down James Haskell
Sam Warburton attempted to bring down James Haskell

"It did feel like England were on top for most of the second half, though we rode the sin-binning out okay.

"When we needed to step it up, their defence was really good.

"We have got to win all four games now. We have done it before and we have to have the strength to believe we can do it again."

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