Autumn internationals: Luke Charteris takes positives from Wales win over Tonga

Last updated: 23rd November 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Autumn internationals: Luke Charteris takes positives from Wales win over Tonga

Luke Charteris: Happy to take the win

We got a win which is the first time on a Friday in a while, which is nice.

Luke Charteris
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Man-of-the-match Luke Charteris was pleased with Wales' 17-7 win over Tonga although believes they should have scored more.

Charteris returned to Wales colours off the bench against South Africa and Argentina earlier this month, but his 43rd cap saw him back on starting duty as Wales backed up their 40-6 demolition of the Pumas last weekend by putting Tonga away with an unconvincing win at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales have a poor recent record in terms of their annual Friday night November fixture, losing 26-19 to Samoa last year and drawing 16-16 with Fiji in 2010, but they turned that around here with a 10-point victory.

First-half tries from centres Owen Williams and Ashley Beck, plus seven points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny had helped Wales to a 17-0 lead.

Tonga hit back with a try from wing Will Helu and a conversion by Latiume Fosita before half-time, with neither side adding to their tally after the interval.

George North barged his way over with 10 minutes to go, but an off-the-ball block by Charteris was picked up by the video referee and the try was ruled out.

Pretty ugly

Charteris told BBC2: "It was pretty ugly out there.

"We knew coming into this game how good a side Tonga were. We saw them last week against France and we knew they were going to keep us under pressure."

Despite being unable to add to their lead after the break, Charteris was looking at the plus side and he added: "We got a win which is the first time on a Friday in a while, which is nice."

But on the disallowed try, the 30-year-old lock admitted his disappointment, saying Warren Gatland's side should have scored more than one more in the second half.

He said: "We should have had two (tries) there."

A drab second half meandered to a conclusion although Wales, given their recent travails in Friday night fixtures, will be content enough with the win ahead of their final autumn clash with Australia.

Despite the disjointed display, Gatland was pleased with a first win in a Friday night autumn Test since 2009, but acknowledged the game which brought up his century from his time in charge of Ireland, Wales and the British and Irish Lions, had not been one to remember.

The New Zealander said: "I'll forget about it pretty quickly. Obviously I am proud of it, I was not even aware of it until last week.

"It is something to reflect back on, but as coaches we are just the end product. It's about the players, it's about the team and that is the most important thing.

"It's nice to get milestones but it's not something I will think about too much, it's just part of the process."

Scarlets centre Scott Williams missed the game as he continued his recovery from a toe injury but Gatland is hopeful he will be available to face Australia next weekend.

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