Tue, Feb 17, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Wales relieved after tough Murrayfield examination

Reuters, EDINBURGH

Wales’ Dan Biggar, top, catches the ball above Scotland’s Finn Russell during their Six Nations match at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

The overriding Welsh emotion was relief after a bruising 26-23 victory over Scotland on Sunday revitalized their Six Nations campaign following their painful home loss to England in the first round of fixtures.

Tries by scrumhalf Rhys Webb and center Jonathan Davies, and the almost immaculate kicking of fullback Leigh Halfpenny subdued a fiery Scotland team roared on by an expectant Murrayfield crowd.

“There were some improvements from last week,” Wales captain Sam Warburton told a news conference. “But we allowed them to stay in the game. You have to give Scotland credit for that. We are relieved to get the campaign back on track.”

Coach Warren Gatland echoed his captain’s view.

“It was a tough competitive game where both teams fought really hard to the end,” he said. “The big thing today was that our kick and reception stuff was outstanding. We got dragged into a game we didn’t want last week. It was very slow.”

“We got dragged into a dog-fight last week and we didn’t want that to happen today. We defended exceptionally for a number of phases,” he added.

The Wales pack, controlled by England’s rampaging back row in Cardiff, fronted up well against a physical Scotland side, matching their hosts’ tenacious work at the breakdown and eking out a small advantage in the set pieces.

“Today was big improvement in terms of opportunities we created,” Gatland said. “Scotland kept fighting to the end. They are the toughest Scotland team we’ve faced for a number of years.”

Warburton said defeat by the Scots would have signaled the end of Welsh Six Nations title ambitions for this year.

“We knew that if we had lost the championship would have been over for us,” he said. “That was our mindset and we were on edge, but that was a good thing.”

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