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'Honestly I'm in disbelief' - Warburton gobsmacked by poor tackling

By Kim Ekin
Sam Warburton (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Former Wales captain Sam Warburton has critcised some of the tackling technique on display in Cardiff on Friday night, and more broadly throughout the game.

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France were not at their flamboyant best but a try from flanker Anthony Jelonch helped the Six Nations leaders to a 13-9 victory over a Wales side full of fight at the Principality Stadium.

Friday’s win was the seventh in a row for Fabien Galthie’s team. France stay on course for their first Six Nations title, and grand slam, since 2010 with a remaining fixture to come against England in Paris on March 19.

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Back in the Game – RFU
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Their other points came from the boot of fullback Melvyn Jaminet, who kicked a conversion and two penalties.

Wales were impressive in containing the visitors’ attacking instincts and captain Dan Biggar was exceptional with the boot as he won territory and kicked three penalties to keep them in the contest to the last minute.

Yet some of the tackling proved problematic, with Tomos Williams and Gareth Thomas both getting their heads on the wrong side and suffering the consequences.

“That should be a left shoulder tackle [Warburton said watching the Williams tackle that saw him HIA’d]. Tomos Williams’ head should be on the right hand side of Danty.

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“It’s the same again for Gareth Thomas, he’s hit him with his left shoulder, that needs to be right, his head’s on the wrong side,” Warburton said at halftime on the BBC. “Honestly, I’m in disbelief sometimes when I watch international rugby at how many players do not choose the right shoulder, they just favour a shoulder and go with it.

“It’s something I think is under-coached. Being able to tackle on both shoulders is like being able to tackle on both hands. It should be a given for every player.”

“Poor tackle technique is the source of so many concussions.

“I think tackle technique must be made compulsory. You have to do five minutes of tackle technique a week. You have to learn to tackle or you produce concussions.”

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Former England captain Martin Johnson was in agreement: “That is a textbook how-not-to-tackle. He’s put his head across the player. The first thing you learn when you tackle is you put your head to the inside of the player.”

Wales captain Biggar felt France were fortunate to win as the reigning Six Nations champions lost for the third time in four games this season.

Biggar told BBC Sport: “It’s very disappointing. I thought we were the b etter team for large periods of the game and one or two big moments is what Test matches hinge on.

“We didn’t quite nail those moments and we paid the price.

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France second row Paul Willemse praised Wales for their performance but admitted Les Bleus’ focus was now on grand slam glory.

Willemse told BBC Sport: “We knew this was going to be one of the toughest games of the season so we’re really happy with the result.

“We have a lot of things to work on for next week and I’m sure we will be doing that.

“This is an amazing and incredible team to be a part of and I’m really grateful because I think we can do big things.”

Unbeaten France have 18 points from four games in the championship, ahead of second-placed Ireland (11 points) and England (10) in third.

Those two sides meet at Twickenham on Saturday to keep their title hopes alive.

– additional reporting AAP

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