Gatland dismisses rise in rankings as 'just bragging rights'

Gatland dismisses rise in rankings as 'just bragging rights'

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has reported that centre Jamie Roberts and lock Alun-Wyn Jones both suffered bumps and bruises during what was a high-octane clash, considering its pre-tournament warm-up status.

Wales beat Ireland 16-10 in their World Cup warm-up success at the Aviva Stadium, thanks to a try from flanker Justin Tipuric and 11 points from Leigh Halfpenny.

“Alun-Wyn was precautionary really,” Gatland said.

“We made a decision it wasn’t worth him playing on and potentially picking up a tournament-ending injury, so it was just a case of getting him off the field and seeing if we could cope with that for the last few minutes, and we did that.

“Jamie just got a knock in the ribs. Hopefully, we are relatively unscathed, but those kind of things you don’t really find out until the next morning.”

Wales’ victory took them above England in the official world rankings four weeks before the countries clash in a pivotal World Cup game at Twickenham, but Gatland dismissed any relevance.

“It doesn't make any difference to us,” he added.

“We came here to play against the number two team in the world. We are the only side that have beaten Ireland in the last 15 games. We weren’t speaking about the rankings or whatever.

“We just know how close teams can be. The way the game is at the moment, you can win by 15 or 20 points and the team you are playing against change their game-plan and do things differently and you can lose by the same margin the following week.

“So it (rankings) doesn’t mean anything. It’s just bragging rights, that’s all it is.”

Reflecting on his team’s display – Wales became the first team to beat Ireland in Dublin since world champions New Zealand toppled them in November 2013 - Gatland said: “It was a good performance.

“We knew the whole focus of this campaign so far in preparation was to win a big game away from home, because we’ve got to go to Twickenham for a couple of big games (in the World Cup).

“So to beat the number two team in the world was good.

“I know it was close at the end. Ireland could have won it, and that would have been heartbreaking for us, but potentially it could have been a lot more comfortable for us as well.”

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