Rugby World Cup 2023: Wales coach Warren Gatland content with Portugal result

Rugby World Cup 2023: Wales v Australia

Venue: OL Stadium, Lyon Date: Sunday, 24 September Kick-off: 20:00 BST

Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says it was "job done" following the bonus-point victory over Portugal in Nice.

Wales have secured maximum bonus-point wins against Fiji and Portugal to top Pool C with matches against Australia and Georgia to follow.

The win over Portugal was not very impressive. but Gatland was happy with the outcome.

"If someone said you'd have 10 points from the first two games, we'd have been happy with that," said Gatland.

His 16th World Cup victory is the most by a coach in the tournament as he rose above Eddie Jones, who could equal his old rival if Australia defeat Fiji on Sunday, with that match falling on Gatland's 60th birthday.

Wales made 12 changes from the starting side that defeated Fiji 32-26 in Bordeaux.

"There were aspects of today, we probably tried to play a little too much rugby early on and didn't play a bit more territory and be more direct," said Gatland.

"Some of those players haven't had a lot of rugby and making that many changes with a short turnaround, I just said to them in the changing room, job done.

"We've got the five points. We can be happy with that and just [looking] for some players to be honest about their own performance and where they can improve."

Wales only led 14-3 at half-time with two tries scored in each half.

"It's not easy at the moment sitting in the box. It's a bit stressful," said Gatland.

"The message at half-time was that it was 21 minutes ball in play. They'd thrown everything at us in those first 20 minutes.

Wales lead Pool C with two wins from two, second-placed Australia face Fiji on Sunday, Georgia are fourth and Portugal last
Wales lead Pool C with two wins from two, second-placed Australia face Fiji on Sunday, Georgia are fourth and Portugal last

"They probably didn't have the same opportunities in the second half in terms of putting us under that sort of pressure.

"We probably didn't help ourselves in terms of managing that. We were conscious about getting that bonus point at the end.

"When we ran hard and won those collision, that's when we looked dangerous. Probably at times, we were a bit lateral.

"It's good we've given everyone in the squad an opportunity and some rugby. We've a bit more time in terms of preparation before Australia and we can start looking forward to that game."

So will any of those Wales players have impressed enough to start against Australia in Lyon on 24 September?

"It's a little bit early to be making decisions on that," said Gatland.

"We'll go with the review and look at that. I thought Rio Dyer was good in the air and worked hard. Probably a couple of times where he's forced a pass and he could have held on to it.

"He gives you 100%. He's definitely improved in certain areas of his game. I thought his aerial stuff was excellent today."

No gamble on Reffell

Wales lost flanker Tommy Reffell in the warm-up with a tight calf with co-captain Jac Morgan stepping in at the last minute and producing a man-of-the-match, try-scoring performance.

"It was a decision we only made just before kick-off," said Gatland.

"Tommy said his calf was a bit tight. I think he was still quite keen to take the field, but if he pulled that calf, that would have been his World Cup over.

"To put Jac in as a straight replacement with very limited preparation from this week, I thought he was good."

Morgan's fellow back-row colleague Taulupe Faletau continued his recovery from a calf injury by impressing with a try-saving tackle in the first half and crossing for the bonus point try late on.

"We know he's not a player, the best example I could probably give is Richie McCaw, who can be out for six months and then step straight back into top level international rugby," said Gatland.

"With Taulupe, the more game time he has and string of games, he gets better. That's why, even with the short turnaround, we wanted to give him more rugby.

"He did some good things today and continued to get better with more rugby. He's worked hard.

"The unfortunate thing with that hard work he'd done was he had the calf injury that set him back a bit. He made some good decisions in terms of that tackle and probably not many people would have been able to score from that situation."

Prop Henry Thomas is the only player in the 33-man squad not to feature in France yet as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

'Portugal were fantastic'

Gatland also praised Portugal and Uruguay, who only lost to France 27-12, and raised the possibility of increasing the amount of teams in the tournament.

"Uruguay were outstanding and it's brilliant for the game," said Gatland.

"We've seen a couple of blowouts, but Portugal were fantastic tonight and showed a lot of enterprise.

"We were aware of that and it's important we continue to develop from a rugby perspective to help develop these tier two nations.

"There might be a situation where we can increase the number of teams in the World Cup to 24 and that would continue help grow the game.

"That's an important aspect. You don't want top-tier nations dominating, you want upsets. As long as I'm not a part of it!

"It's a positive to see teams competing and pushing other teams close."