Justin Tipuric believes Wales still in Six Nations title contention
Justin Tipuric has no doubt that Wales remain Guinness Six Nations title contenders despite suffering their first defeat in the tournament for two years.
Wales’ 24-14 loss to Ireland in Dublin ended a run of eight successive Six Nations wins, while also scuppering Grand Slam hopes.
Resurgent France are next up in Cardiff on February 22, followed by England at Twickenham, so life is not about to get any easier for Tipuric and company.
Asked if Wales can still win this season’s competition, Wales flanker Tipuric said: “Yes, of course.
“Especially this year, because there are so many good teams and anybody can turn over anybody on a given day.
“It’s a long tournament. We won’t win the Grand Slam, but we are still in with a chance of winning it (Six Nations). Anything can happen on the day.”
Ireland triumphed in bonus-point fashion thanks to tries from full-back Jordan Larmour, prop Tadhg Furlong, flanker Josh Van Der Flier and wing Andrew Conway.
It means that Wales have still not won a Six Nations game in Dublin since 2012, while they will also need to monitor wing Josh Adams, who suffered a hip injury, and fly-half Dan Biggar after he failed a head injury assessment, during the build-up to France.
Tipuric added: “We gave possession away and too many penalties. They took the territory, and that’s what they want.
“They are simple things (to fix) – speed of breakdown, passing and catching the ball – and it’s a long tournament. Anything can happen from now until the end.
“We are still in it and have to learn from this game and get better and better.”
It was a first defeat for Wales head coach Wayne Pivac in his third game at the helm since succeeding Warren Gatland.
Wales, though, have won eight of their last nine Tests against France, while Les Blues’ last victory on Welsh soil came 10 years ago.
Pivac said: “It’s an opportunity for us to have a look at our game.
“We were put under pressure, and we will see where we have to work harder to make sure we get those things right for the next match.
“It is a tournament, and we’ve got another three matches to look forward to. We will be working very hard to get the areas right that we need to so we can put on a better performance next time around.
“It’s looking after possession when we’ve got it, making sure we are a lot more accurate in what we do, so there is plenty to work on.
“We’ve got to make sure when we have got the ball we look after it and build the pressure. At the end of that usually comes some points.
“For us, it was just a matter of we didn’t take our opportunities. We were inaccurate in a lot of our play.
“When we did get into the areas of the field we wanted to, we weren’t accurate and let the Irish off the hook. When they got down the other end, they made us pay.
“At half-time we were fairly buoyant. We realised if we started well after half-time, the game was going to be on and we had every opportunity.
“But we weren’t able to nail those opportunities or create enough pressure.”