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Warren Gatland sees ‘real positives’ despite pain of Wales defeat by Australia

Warren Gatland was left to reflect on another painful defeat as Wales went down 25-16 against Australia in Sydney and suffered an eighth successive Test match loss.

Wales have not won a Test since they defeated World Cup pool opponents Georgia nine months ago.

And although they had their moments at the Allianz Stadium, it was ultimately an all-too-familiar story.

Wales players react following their defeat by Australia
Wales players react following their defeat by Australia (Rick Rycroft/AP)

“I understand you are going to get pressure from people talking about a losing run at the moment,” Wales head coach Gatland told Sky Sports.

“But in that run we have been in games, been in front and easily could have won a few, and tonight was the same.

“A bit more accuracy, decisions which go your way and you win. Those are big moments that we need to learn from to make sure that in those tight matches where it is an arm-wrestle you end up on the winning side.

“I think we hurt ourselves with a number of turnovers, and the penalty count early on. Soft penalties hurt us.”

Wales had a second-half try from replacement James Botham disallowed for obstruction, which appeared a marginal call from the officials.

“I need to get some clarity on the disallowed try from the maul, and we are where we are at the moment,” Gatland added.

“We are not getting any 50-50 calls and we just have to work through that.

“I thought there were some real positives out there in terms of what we are trying to do.

“We have been upfront in what we are trying to do in building this team. I hope people can see some development in terms of the players and experience with what we are trying to do towards the next Rugby World Cup.”

Wales crushed Australia 40-6 at the last World Cup, yet Eddie Jones’ head coach successor Joe Schmidt enjoyed a winning start to his reign following tries from prop Taniela Tupou, wing Filipo Daugunu and full-back Tom Wright.

Wallabies fly-half Noah Lolesio kicked a conversion and two penalties, while Tom Lynagh – son of Australia World Cup winner Michael Lynagh – added the extras to Wright’s touchdown.

Wales’ last win against Australia came in 1969, and there were times when they threatened to end that sequence, posting a penalty try and three penalties from fly-half Ben Thomas.

But Australia had just enough in the tank, with Wright’s try 11 minutes from time sealing the deal and finally subduing a spirited Wales display.

Wales captain Dewi Lake said: “We have to learn how to win games, to put points on the board and see games out.

“Credit to Australia, they put points on the board and made us chase the game. A couple (of opportunities) went begging tonight, and that is the difference on the scoreboard.”

Wales now head to Melbourne for next Saturday’s second Test, and Lake added: “I don’t think this is a squad that needs galvanising, to be honest.

“We are ready to put everything on the line for each other to get the win for everyone back home and for the jersey. It is more about learning quickly and how to see these games out.”

Schmidt, meanwhile, added: “We hope the players will learn through these next few weeks so we can get to a better place. That was an arm-wrestle at the end.

“I am proud of the boys that they earned it, but we are all a bit frustrated that we didn’t play as well as we would have liked, and I am sure the Welsh feel the same way.”