Charteris set for challenge
Lock Luke Charteris is predicting a "tough week" for Wales ahead of their Six Nations clash against fellow strugglers Italy.
By Rachel Griffiths
Last Updated: 14/03/10 7:40pm
Wales lock Luke Charteris is predicting a "tough week" for Warren Gatland's men ahead of their RBS Six Nations clash against fellow strugglers Italy.
Wales' 27-12 loss in Ireland consigned them to a finish outside the top three, and if Scotland upset Declan Kidney's men in Dublin next weekend, the Welsh will find themselves holding the wooden spoon.
Charteris is well aware of the importance of the Azzurri clash, and is expecting the coming week to be particularly testing.
"Italy is a massive game and we have to finish the tournament on a high," said Charteris.
"It is going to be a tough week for us, but we have to prove we are a better side next weekend than we showed against Ireland."
Full-back Lee Byrne was sin-binned during Wales' visit to Dublin, and Charteris believes his side must work harder when only 14 players are on the field.
"We have to learn the game more when we are down to 14 men," added Charteris. "In some games you are going to lose a man, and sometimes it can't be helped.
"It is how you react to that and it is down to the players on the field. We have reacted poorly in two games (Alun-Wyn Jones was sin-binned against England with Wales conceding 17 points while he was on the sidelines) and it is up to the rest of us to cope with things."
Flanker Martyn Williams, who captained Wales in place of injured skipper Ryan Jones at Croke Park, made no excuses for his side.
"Our Achilles' heel, throughout the tournament, has been our concentration," said Williams.
"We had plenty of ball, but we weren't clinical enough. During key points of the game we switched off, and Ireland took full advantage."
Wales' defence coach Shaun Edwards admits his side did not deliver a strong enough defensive display.
"We were disappointed when we went down to 14 men and then conceded tries," said Edwards.
"I thought we tightened up in the last 20 minutes and defended well, but there is no question Ireland defended better than us. I have no argument with that, but it is something we have to work very hard on in the future."