So we managed a fairly comfortable victory over Scotland up in Murrayfield. We’ve now got 3 wins out of 4 in this tournament and Welsh rugby is in a much healthier state. The loss to Ireland because of a diabolical first half is now even more frustrating. If we played both halves of that game with the same skill and determination that we played with in the second half, then we’d be competing with England for a Grand Slam.
How well did we actually perform against the Scots?
The pack was immense, let’s make no mistake about that, but it’s clear that the balance of our backline is still not right. We need to create far more, but that won’t happen with only our scrum-half and fullback performing to their full potential. I shouldn’t complain because we’re winning, but I want Wales to be more than a pack and a fantastic goalkicker (2003 England anyone?). The truth of the matter is that we might be able to do enough against an atrocious France, a lacklustre Italy or an ordinary Scotland, but our backline needs to ‘click’ if we are to beat competitive sides.
Although it was viewed by most as a controversial decision for Sam to start ahead of Tipuric, it’s safe to say that he’s found his form again and is likely to be a real threat against England on Saturday. I’m sure he’ll take confidence for his man of the match award, and rightly so – he had a cracking game. With Ryan ruled out because of injury, we lose a great player and captain, but the thought of Sam and Tipuric playing the next game together against a team who select 3 blindside flankers in their backrow is nothing short of extremely exciting.
Five away wins in a row in the Six Nations
Beating the Scots away means that we have now won our last 5 away games in the Six Nations. This is no mean feat as I’m sure we’re all aware. A win away from home is rarely easy to achieve. The boys can take great encouragement from this and feel positive about the next game against England.
Looking ahead to England
We have a lot to be positive about for this coming weekend. The boys are starting to play well and our home advantage will be invaluable. Although England have been playing well enough throughout the tournament, some serious chinks in their armour started to appear against Italy on Sunday. Wales v England is always an exciting game but if Wales can take advantage of some of these weaknesses then we could have one really interesting game on our hands. Not only do we have the chance to disrupt an English Grand Slam (something we’d all be ecstatic about), we also have a chance of snatching the championship from them. We have the pack to match them and if our backline finally ‘clicks’, then this relatively inexperienced England side could find themselves in a spot of bother.
How well do you think Wales will do against England on Saturday?