Lions scorn Wallabies' firepower, Beale's boot
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has questioned the Wallabies' attacking potency, criticised Kurtley Beale for wearing the wrong style of boots and backed the decision to refer an incident involving James Horwill to the citing commissioner.
Gatland turned the spotlight on Beale, who slipped on the rutted Suncorp Stadium surface and botched a last-minute penalty goal that would have won the first Test for the injury-ravaged Wallabies on Saturday night.
''If I was a coach and I looked at Kurtley Beale coming onto that field wearing moulded boots ...'' Gatland said. ''On the last kick he slipped over, he slipped over on a couple of occasions, you'd ask why has he come out on the field wearing that sort of footwear in those conditions.''
The New Zealander, who coached Wales before being awarded the Lions role, said he had regularly warned Welsh players to wear boots with screw-in studs, not moulded studs, before playing at Millennium Stadium in slippery conditions.
''You've got to turn up with the right tools, don't you,'' he said. ''It's part of your job, making sure that you're prepared.''
Beale said he was ''very disappointed'' with the two missed kicks for goal in the final minutes, either of which could have snatched a gutsy win - and all of the momentum - for the Wallabies. ''I think it was just the ground, it was a bit loose under the feet, but there are no excuses, that's just rugby,'' he said a day after the Lions 23-21 victory. ''It was a simple error, a misjudgment.''
While Robbie Deans called in injury cover from Reds centre Ben Tapuai, Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg and returning veteran George Smith, Gatland reiterated his belief the Australians lacked attacking firepower in their two-try performance.
''We'd given them a couple of opportunities defensively, a couple of mistakes we've made and, if you look at the line breaks, it's seven [Lions] to three [Australia],'' he said.
''We didn't feel that there was a massive attacking threat from them. The threat was one try scored from a quick tap and another scored from a turnover, so [we have to be] aware of that and keep our patience, defensively.''
The Lions referred the alleged stamping incident on Welsh second-rower Alun Wyn Jones, which occurred in the third minute, to the ARU-appointed citing commissioner Freek Burger after reviewing the footage.
Jones did not leave the field until he was replaced in the 71st minute but required stitches to his eye after full-time, Gatland said.
''The feeling from us is that it needed to be referred to the citing commissioner to have a look at it and make a decision,'' he said.
''I played in the days when rucking was allowed and I've still got the scars that bear witness to some decent ruckings, but the head for me was sacrosanct, you stayed away from it. It's up to the citing commissioner now for that to be looked at and for a decision to be made.''
The Wallabies have five back-line players in doubt for the next Test.
Centre Pat McCabe looks the least likely to make it after a neck injury, while Christian Lealiifano (head knock), Berrick Barnes (head knock), Adam Ashley-Cooper (shoulder) and Digby Ioane (shoulder) require monitoring.
When asked about the effect of the Wallabies' injury woes on their game plan, Gatland again pondered whether Deans would be forced to fall back on Queensland playmaker Quade Cooper.
''They've got some quality players out there, whether it's Tapuai or [Anthony] Fainga'a comes in, or Cooper comes in,'' he said.
''Beale came on and caused us a couple of concerns. We know what [Israel] Folau is ... he's pretty special. With [Pat] McCabe he's probably not the most potent attacking weapon but he's pretty direct, so potentially they'll have a little bit more firepower with some players they might add to their squad.''
Sydney Morning Herald