Webb: Wales can bounce back

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Published: Sunday 8th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Rhys Webb believes Wales are “definitely capable” of recovering from a debilitating home defeat against England and igniting their RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Wales head to Edinburgh next weekend for an appointment with Scotland, having already been nudged behind the eight-ball by an England team that proved too strong despite being without several injured players.

Despite scrum-half Webb’s early try that underpinned a 10-point lead, Wales were ultimately overpowered by England’s rampant forwards and they failed to score in the second period.

It was a sobering night for Wales head coach Warren Gatland and his players at the start of World Cup year – their second pool game is against England at Twickenham on September 26 – but Webb has delivered a swift riposte to any doom and gloom merchants.

“Two years ago, we lost to Ireland in the first game and went on to win the championship,” he said.

“This team is definitely capable of doing that. It’s a world-class team.

“But we can’t afford to switch off as we did in that second-half. We didn’t control the game, we were counter-rucked, sin-binned, and made basic errors. You can’t afford to do that.

“I am sure the boys will be looking forward to hitting the hell out of each other next week. We will get stuck into each other.

“We will look back at the videos and the boys will put their hands up. That’s where we are as a team – everyone will chip in and say their part.

“We will gather all that information and get back on the training pitch on Tuesday to put things right where we need to put them right.

“It was just a bad day at the office. If we had played the whole game like we played the first half, it would have been a different story. It was just one of those games – a one-off.

“We will rest up on Saturday and Sunday, then, come Monday, we will go through the analysis. It will be tough times there, but we have to pick ourselves up and get back to winning ways at Murrayfield.”

Despite blasting out of the starting blocks, Wales were ultimately overhauled by an England side that dominated every key area once they got up to speed with the game.

The England pack, led imperiously by James Haskell, enjoyed set-piece control, and as the second half unfolded and the visitors grew in confidence, so Wales wilted.

Ultimately, a 21-16 scoreline flattered Wales far more than their opponents as England claimed a first victory in Cardiff after being behind at half-time since the fixture began 134 years ago.

“I thought we got off to a good start in the first-half and controlled the first 40 minutes,” Webb added.

“But we failed to prepare and control that third quarter, and they scored a try. Indiscipline cost us after that.

“Every time we kept building something they did very well to slow our ball down. We didn’t get any momentum.

“They are a world-class team. They have had a lot of injuries, but they have got strength in depth and they showed out there what they can do.

“We started well, but we just didn’t control that second-half. We gave England cheap ball, and to be fair to them they just kept coming at us.

“There was indiscipline as well and they just kept the scoreboard ticking over. It’s about control and playing in the right areas of the field.

“Their back row did very well, especially in the second half. Every time we tried to go forward, they slowed everything down and we lost momentum and just couldn’t go anywhere.

“It wasn’t the best day to be a scrum-half with those forwards coming at you all day.

“They were trying to cause mayhem, and maybe the boys switched off for a split second. In international rugby you can’t afford to do that.”

Published: Sunday 8th February 2015 by The News Editor

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