Gatland admits Wales lost the battle of the boot
Warren Gatland believes his side's kicking curse was once again to blame for Wales' third-place play-off defeat against Australia.
While skipper Sam Warburton’s first-half sending off stole the headlines as Wales crashed to a semi-final defeat to France, equally to blame was their waywardness – they missed four out of five shots at goal - with the boot.
And those struggles reared their head again as they were downed 21-18 by the Wallabies in the battle for third place on Friday.
James Hook and Leigh Halfpenny, both guilty parties against France, were responsible for eight missed points against Australia.
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And a disappointed Gatland reckoned the difference between defeat and victory once again came down to off target shots at goal.
“Unfortunately, for whatever reason, on these big occasions our goal kicking has let us down,” said Gatland.
“The person who will perhaps be most upset at that is our kicking coach Neil Jenkins.
“If we look at the past, those kickers who have been taking goals have had a success rate of 80 per cent plus.
“Yet crucial ones have been missed. James missed one almost in front of the posts, which in the grand scheme of things proved to be pretty important.
“We missed one or two easy ones and [James] O’Connor has kicked pretty well.
“That’s probably been the difference between the teams.”