Six Nations 2014

/ Reaction

Wales 51-3 Scotland
Gatland says 'no hard feelings' for Hogg
ESPN Staff
March 15, 2014
Rhodri Williams breaks through the Scotland defence © Getty Images

Gatland has jumped to the defence of Scotland's Stuart Hogg following his red card offence during Scotland's 51-3 loss to Wales on Saturday.

Hogg was initially sin-binned by referee Jerome Garces for a late hit on Welsh fly-half Dan Biggar, but upon reviewing the footage on the Millennium Stadium's big screen, decided to send the full-back off instead.

"You've got to feel sorry for Stuart because he is not that sort of player at all. It is a rush of blood, and he's made a mistake. From our point of view, we are not going to dwell on that," Gatland said. "I don't think you will see that from him again. He has made a mistake. It's a collision sport. From our point of view there are no hard feelings."

Match Analysis

  • Man of the Match: Liam Williams put in an assured performance and ensured Wales did not miss the injured Leigh Halfpenny.
  • Key moment: Stuart Hogg's red card effectively ended the game as a contest. The game was 10-3 at that stage and all to play for and although Scotland battled valiantly with 14 men, they were never going to win the match.
  • Hero: It's difficult to pick just one - Dan Biggar looked at home in the fly-half berth and George North also shone. Scotland's Richie Gray and David Denton also warrant a mention.
  • Villain: An easy choice - Hogg
  • Talking point: Wales played a wonderful brand of attacking rugby. Why did they not do that against England? Against England they kicked but today they ran the ball and looked dangerous.
  • Play of the Game: Jamie Roberts' second try was a wonderful sweeping move. Liam Williams started it near Wales' try line and then passed to Jonathan Davies who flung it on to Toby Faletau. Faletau's offload then found Roberts who dotted it down.
  • Tom Hamilton

Hogg later released a statement, saying: "I would like to apologise to my team-mates, the Scotland management and all Scotland supporters for what happened today. I have let people down.

"I have said sorry in person to Dan Biggar and I have apologised to the referee, Jerome Garces. I always try to play hard and fair and what happened today was out of character for me. Once again, I'm very sorry."

Down to 14 men, Scotland struggled to get a foothold in Cardiff, and Wales capitalised on their advantage, proceeding to open their biggest-ever winning points margin against the Scots.

"You have got to be ruthless, and we were ruthless from that point on," Gatland said. "Even before that, I thought at 13-3 up we were reasonably comfortable with the way the game was going. We kept the ball, and kept it for long phases, and I didn't feel Scotland could handle our physicality in defence or in attack.

"We know in this tournament we've been a little bit inconsistent. I thought the players responded particularly well today, and it was a good display."

Defeats against Ireland and England mean that Wales were unsuccessful in defending their title, won by Ireland later on Saturday thanks to a 22-20 victory over France.

"We've done reasonably well in this competition. We've set massive expectations upon ourselves. The media put a lot of pressure on us, but in the last three years we've won 12 out of 15 [Six Nations] games. I don't think that is a bad record in this competition for a small country like Wales with such a small playing base as well.

"We are pretty happy with where we are at the moment, but as I said, there is no-one harder than we are on ourselves in terms of being critical - be it coaches or players - because we want to keep working and improving as a side.

"We have a really tough tour of South Africa in the summer. We will take a slightly bigger squad, and we are looking potentially at a midweek game against Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth, so everyone is a part of the tour. We know how tough a place it [South Africa] is."

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