herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Gatland's troops must rally for Murrayfield clash

Warren Gatland. Picture: David Jones/GETTY IMAGES
Warren Gatland. Picture: David Jones/GETTY IMAGES

It has been a painful week for Warren Gatland's Wales.

Battered into submission by England on the pitch, then savaged by critics over the George North concussion controversy off it, it is hard to remember a more testing seven-day period since Gatland took charge in early 2008.

And the challenge facing Wales now is how they respond when business is resumed against a rapidly-improving and dangerous Scotland team at Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon.

When the Wales squad fly from Cardiff to Edinburgh, they must also move on from what has proved to be a demanding seven days.

"It has been pretty frank and pretty honest, as you would expect," said 85 times-capped Wales lock Alun-Wyn Jones (left), reflecting on rugby matters post-England.

"Game management and the application of plans probably wasn't there.

"It wasn't a lack of effort. It is sometimes a case of trying too hard when things are not going your way. We got a little bit individual at times, and that cost us.

"It is not good to get a loss, whether it is in the championship or not.

"It does hold us in the blocks a bit.

"I'm very cautious to say we have done it before (lost the first game, then won the title) and succeeded in the championship, but I think we are in a place where we can look no further than the next game.

"If you look at the way the three games went last weekend, Scotland probably had the performance of the weekend and were not far away from deserving a win against France."

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