Howley reflects on horror show

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Rob Howley admitted Wales were simply not good enough against Samoa Rob Howley admitted Wales were simply not good enough against Samoa

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley described his side's desperate display against Samoa as "not up to international standard" after a demoralising 26-19 defeat at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales were awful in defeat to Argentina last weekend, and there was no improvement here from the Six Nations champions, who now face the ominous task of meeting world champions New Zealand in eight days' time.

Howley said: "I have spoken to the players and we are obviously disappointed as a coaching team and group of players. International rugby is about discipline and when we created opportunities in the game, although we did not have many, we were disappointed in terms of our top-three inches at times."

He went on: "We were outperformed by a Samoa side whose ability to keep the ball better than us was the most disappointing aspect of the performance.

"We did not have control of possession or in terms of the contact area and that (performance) is obviously not international standard."

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will return to take the reins next week, but the Kiwi faces a huge task to turn around Wales' alarming demise before the All Blacks arrive in town. On this evidence it is difficult to see Wales having any hope of living with Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and company.

But Howley believes the challenge ahead represents an ideal opportunity for Wales to get back on track.

He said: "Over the last 12 months we have been to the World Cup semi-finals and won a Grand Slam. We have had the highs and now we are going through a low. We have to bounce back and rugby gives you an opportunity.

"This group of players have been outstanding in training, but when we cross that white line our skills are not up to scratch of international rugby at this moment in time, but we will keep working hard and keep working smart and we will stick together.

"We have two good games against New Zealand and Australia to come and it is something to look forward to."

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