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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Gatland excited by Triple Crown battle

WALES coach Warren Gatland admits the excitement is already building ahead of his side's Triple Crown tilt against England at Twickenham after completing stage two of a potential sweep of the home unions with their 27-13 victory over Scotland in Cardiff.

Gatland's side sealed the win with a ruthless period of play that saw them register three tries in just 13 second half minutes.

The win means Wales' title ambitions remain firmly on track, and victory at Twickenham next time out would secure a third Triple Crown in eight seasons.

Gatland, who memorably guided Wales to a first win at Twickenham for 20 years in his first game in charge in 2008, said: "It is always nice when you go into your third game and you're playing for a Triple Crown, isn't it?

"If you can't get motivated to go to Twickenham playing for a Triple Crown, and playing against England, you should not be putting the jersey on.

"We are going to be pretty excited. The guys will work hard this week, we have a couple of days off but they are in on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and we will do some work on conditioning, some power and endurance stuff to make sure we get ourselves mentally right.

"England will be tough to beat up there but we have everything to play for, we have the Triple Crown to play for and it's exciting for us."

Wales managed the victory despite having captain Sam Warburton ruled out before kick-off with the dead leg he suffered in Dublin last week.



Debut

Scarlets back-rower Aaron Shingler performed admirably in his place on his debut.

They also suffered injuries to giant wing George North (ankle) and Huw Bennett (calf) but it was not enough to knock Wales out of their stride.

And Gatland, who is hopeful of having North and Warburton, as well as hooker Matthew Rees and flanker Justin Tipuric available to face England, was impressed with how his side dealt with those obstacles.

He said: "We expected Scotland to be tougher than maybe the public did. If you look at their numbers last week in terms of territory, possession and line breaks, they should have won that game against England.

"So we are very pleased with the result given the disruption of losing Sam Warburton, and having to adjust to the loss of Bradley Davies during the week, as well as being without three or four key players.

"That is a sign of the maturity of this team. It doesn't seem to affect them psychologically."

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