Taulupe Faletau Column: The Ireland defeat was a shock

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The Ireland defeat last week was a blow for us, and a bit of a shock to be honest. As a team we just didn’t turn up and play as we know we can. Unfortunately, that cost us the game and Ireland ran out quite convincing winners in the end. We felt stifled, and weren’t comfortable for much of the game. There was a game plan in place that wasn’t executed, and we’ve slipped up in a game we were hoping to win.

Still, we’re still in with a shot in the championship and hopefully by collecting a win in our next game we can still be firm contenders. The recovery starts on the training ground, at least for our championship ambitions. Time and time again we’ve just got to ensure we put in the work in training, having that attitude and motivation to treat every training day like game day and walking away knowing we’ve put a shift in.

The team as a whole are experienced enough to be able to handle, and pick up from, a defeat like this and those that are experiencing it for the first time are always learning from the senior guys in how to improve. Needless to say, there’s a healthy atmosphere in camp and we’re all here to work and train hard together.

Leading by example, Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn-Jones are two of those senior boys that can speak from the experience of defeat to pick up the shoulders of our less experienced players. The best way to learn as a youngster is through those who can share their tips through common experiences, and in the Wales teams there’s plenty ready to put arms on shoulders. The boys who haven’t gone through a defeat like that find it really helpful, which is great.

This week it’s onto domestic rugby, and a few of the boys have gone back to play with their clubs this weekend, giving us time to recuperate from our recent defeat as a country and learn from our mistakes. Time away from international duty is good in providing us with downtime and keeps our minds off a bad game, so it’ll certainly be helpful. We’ve had time to go home and see our family, away from a rugby atmosphere, which is a welcome change in terms of our family values. On the other hand, we all wouldn’t mind playing our next game soon so we can prove to ourselves, and our fans, that we’ve put the loss behind us. We’re close, as any team could ask to be, so those days we’re in camp still feel like we’re with family.

We’ll be back in camp on Sunday picking up where we left off. The boys will be fresh, both in body and mind, so I’m expecting as hard a session as ever. We’re ready to put last weekend behind us, and we’re not prepared to go down without a fight, be it on game day or not.

Column exclusively brought to you by Under Armour athlete and WRU back row forward, Taulupe Faletau.

4 thoughts on “Taulupe Faletau Column: The Ireland defeat was a shock

  1. ” a defeat like this and those that are experiencing it for the first time”

    Surely all these players have experienced defeat before. Correct me if I’m wrong but, this time last year hadn’t Wales only gotten their first win after a run of eight losses! No? Short memories!

    DDD

    1. To be fair that’s not quite what he said. He said the squad is experienced enough to come back from a loss like this, and as you point out they’ve had plenty of practice at it.

      He was aiming that statement at the younger members of that squad who perhaps haven’t experienced an international pummelling before.

      Having said that, I’m not sure most of them have experienced being totally dominated from min 1 to min 80 before. Even in previous defeats, you could generally point to a period, however brief, where Wales were in the ascendency.. there was nothing like that against Ireland last Saturday, totally outplayed for the entire game.

  2. I do think Gatland was tactically outmatched in that match. I think it will be a personal rivalry between the Kiwi coaches every year on some level. Plenty more good old fashioned 6 nations rivalries to entertain us over the coming years.

    1. I wish it had been that close Mitchell. Gatland was “outmatched” by a coach who decided to pick his fittest/best squad. Gats chose what in his head could be his best squad when all fit. Warburton/Jenkins especially off the pace in a match where the breakdown was key.

      I think Gats probably had in his mind a kicking game along the lines of what Ireland rolled out. In that case though the problem was that you had Sexton, we had a one legged blind donkey doing our kicking.

      This is all terribly self centred of course – I’m concentrating on Welsh failures. Please don’t take this as “we lost it cos we didn’t play to our strengths”. I’m well aware of how well Ireland played on that day but right now I’d rather the Welsh concentrated on fixing what we did wrong.

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