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Wales vice-captain points the finger: 'Forget injuries...those selected didn't perform'

By PA
Wales were heavily beaten by Ireland (PA)

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Adam Beard says that honesty will be a key part of Wales’ recovery plan after their Guinness Six Nations title defence began in miserable fashion.

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A 29-7 defeat against Ireland – Wales’ biggest Six Nations loss since they were beaten by a 23-point margin in Dublin eight years ago – has immediately put them on the back foot.

Resurgent Scotland arrive at the Principality Stadium next Saturday, and although they have not won in Cardiff for 20 years, Gregor Townsend’s team will start as favourites following their stirring Calcutta Cup victory over England.

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Cam Redpath
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Cam Redpath

Wales were dismantled by a ruthless Ireland side unbeaten since February last year, conceding four tries and staring at a blank points account until flanker Taine Basham claimed a late consolation score that Callum Sheedy converted.

“It felt like we didn’t fire enough shots out there,” Wales vice-captain Beard said.

“Discipline let us down big-time, whether that was our own errors or whatever came from that. It is hugely disappointing.

“If we look back at the game, we let them score seven points in the first couple of minutes, and then seven points again in the first couple minutes of the second-half.

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“There were patches when we showed good physicality, but at international level you have got to be showing that physicality and the consistency of that for the 80 minutes.

“Look, we will recover now, assess everything on Monday and be honest with each other.

“I think it is important that we are honest with each other and we work on those things we need to work on, and we will definitely have a good training week ahead of Scotland.”

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Wales went into the game without a number of injured British and Irish Lions, including Alun Wyn Jones, George North, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi.

But Beard added: “”You could look at it and say we are losing a lot of caps, but then it is for boys to step in, put their hands up and give a good account of themselves.

“We didn’t lose because we were missing how many caps, it was because we didn’t perform on the day. That’s the brutal, honest truth about it.

“We have got to pick ourselves up, we can’t be down. There are four games left – we are only game one into the campaign.

“We will be honest with each other, come Monday, and look to improve on the stuff we need to work on. It is just about building that atmosphere and getting round each other.”

Wales’ scrum – an area where Ireland were tipped to dominate – held up well as one of the few positive outcomes for them.

A much-vaunted back division was unable to fire, and it remains to be seen whether head coach Wayne Pivac retains prolific try-scoring wing Josh Adams as a rookie outside centre, or moves him back to his strongest position.

There will be concern, too, about wing Louis Rees-Zammit, who had his right ankle strapped during the Aviva Stadium warm-up and did not appear to be at full throttle after that.

“We probably didn’t get enough ball, to start with,” Beard said.

“It felt like we defended most of that game, and if you defend for most of the game it is obviously going to be hard to put points on the board and get a foothold.

“Probably, our set-piece percentages weren’t where we would like to be to fire real shots. Even when we did have ball in hand, probably our intent, our go-forward wasn’t where we like to be.

“You look at the players we have got in that back-line, there is a lot of firepower, a lot of speed and a lot of quality players.

“We will look to improve that aspect, come next week, and then hopefully we can get these players ball in hand and they can cause real damage to the opposition.”

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