Warren Gatland claimed ‘Wales punch above their weight’ in international rugby, following defeat to South Africa in the World Cup semi-final.
Gatland will take charge of his last game as Wales boss in the third vs fourth play-off against New Zealand on Friday, but spoke about the pride he has in his players after their narrow defeat.
The 56-year-old explained: “These games are so close and tight and I’m disappointed because we worked pretty hard and two or three scrum penalties, a couple of line out penalties are disappointing and thats the difference between the two sides.
“We punch massively above our weight when you consider the playing size of the numbers in Wales, so I’m really proud of these guys and what they’ve achieved. They never gave up tonight and the kept working hard and kept fighting hard.
“They gave 100%, it was a tough physical South-Africa team that we played against and they’re good upfront, they won the collisions, in terms of the carry and stuff I thought we were pretty good at times. Our guys didn’t take a backwards step. I can only be proud of them for that.
One criticism Gatland had of his side was giving away too many penalties in the game.
The coach added: “At 16 all it was pretty close and you’re dreaming about the three points being the other way, but it was be a great final between England and South-Africa.
“I’m proud of my players, congratulations to South Africa, I thought they played very well upfront and we probably gave away too many penalties in our own half.
“That cost us dearly, but I’m proud of the way we got ourselves back into the game and were in the arm-wrestle, but three or four penalties in the game were costly in terms of points.”
Wales will play New Zealand in the third vs fourth play-off on Friday.
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