Gatland watches last moments of Wales win on TV
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Used to so many despairing finishes as coach of Wales, Warren Gatland couldn’t bear to watch the end of his team’s rugby test with South Africa at Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
So, with Wales clinging on to the lead by six points, he left his seat in the stands, and moved into the coaches’ box to watch the climax on TV.
Torment was replaced by triumph, as Wales prevailed 12-6 for only its second win over the Springboks, and first in 15 years.
“They don’t make it easy on the coaches,” Gatland said. “I couldn’t watch the last couple of minutes. I was just watching it in the box on the television, standing up.”
The result, following late slumps against New Zealand and Australia, capped a week in which Gatland had been the focus of the buildup, on how he didn’t appear to be dealing well with the pressure of losing 22 straight games over six years to the southern hemisphere powers.
He didn’t regard the end of the drought as relief.
“In terms of the relief, and the pressure people talk about, you thrive on that at this level,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.
“The autumn series is about playing the best in the world. There are no competition points at stake. For us, it’s about the Six Nations, and preparing for that. We’re looking at these matches as like camps for next year. We’re very happy with how the whole autumn campaign transpired.
“We’ve pushed the three best teams in the world right to the end. In two games, we were leading but couldn’t finish it off. Today, we made it a little bit hard for ourselves again, but we deserved to win it.”
He said their ultimate focus was on getting out of their pool at the Rugby World Cup in 10 months, a pool that includes former champions Australia and England, the tournament host.
“Our long-term goal is winning the World Cup,” Gatland said, “and we think we’re good enough to do that.”