Six Nations

Gatland eyes Six Nations crown

2015-03-01 09:33
Warren Gatland (AFP)

Paris - Wales coach Warren Gatland believes his side can win the Six Nations after coming away from France with a 20-13 victory.

After watching his side beat the hosts for a fourth successive victory over France -- the first time they have achieved that since the 1950s -- the New Zealander said they can win the Six Nations crown if other results go their way.

Wales lost 21-16 at home to England in their opening match.

England play Ireland in Dublin on Sunday in a clash of the two remaining unbeaten sides while the Irish still have to visit the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in two weeks time.

If the Irish can beat England then Wales know a victory over Ireland could push them towards a title -- just like two years ago when they came back from losing their opening match at home to Ireland to win in France on their way to lifting the title.

"We've prided ourselves in the squad in recent years that the more time we spend together we improve," said Gatland.

"After the second half performance against England we were written off by a lot of people but we improved against Scotland and it was a step up tonight (Saturday).

"We're back in contention, obviously we need a couple of results to go our way."

Gatland reserved special praise for his pack.

"The forwards were excellent tonight. The lineout was excellent and the scrums as well. It was tough at the breakdown. Both teams made it difficult for the referee.

"But we went out, played rugby and the better team won. At home against Ireland, if we can win that then potentially we're in with a chance (of winning the tournament), depending on what happens tomorrow."

Gatland said his team had shown maturity to win a game that in the past might have got away from them.

"For us it's about a bit of experience in the team obviously," he said.

"We spoke beforehand about four wins in a row against France and it being the first time since the 50s that Wales have achieved that. There was the potential for something a bit special.

"But we have a massive problem starting the second half. We're trying to address it with the team. I don't know the answer but we got out of it."

He added: "I think composure and experience is what got us over the line, that's satisfying for us.

"As coaches and players we probably put ourselves under pressure. In those situations we've crumbled or lost a crucial line-out, or given a stupid penalty away (in the past).

"I think we've improved and matured as team."

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said his team took too long to get going and pointed to a raft of missed kicks -- Camille Lopez and Morgan Parra missed three penalties between them.

"Of course when you lose an international match there are many reasons.

"Today, even though we tried to do things we took too much time to get going. It took us half an hour to keep the ball for more than three phases.

"Even if our defence was in place, we can't defend permanently.

"We scored a try, we had another try refused for a slight forward pass.

"But with a 50 percent success rate with the boot it's difficult to win an international match.

"We had two or three players injured, we lost both our centres and Morgan Parra hurt his knee.

"But despite all that, we should've won the match. We need to pick ourselves up and work hard on the basics.

"We lacked too much to win the match today."

Read more on:    wales  |  six nations  |  warren gatland  |  rugby

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