Wales v Scotland - Story of the match

Jonathan Hernandez
February 4, 2018

With so many of their frontline players injured, Warren Gatland has turned nearly wholesale to the Scarlets, the PRO12 champions and the in-form team in the European Champions' Cup.

Trying to make sense of the poor showing, Scotland captain John Barclay said: "I am speechless".

"It was an afternoon I was expecting with the way we have trained the last couple of weeks", Wales coach Gatland said.

"Maybe they will bring in elements of the way Scarlets play because of the numbers they have or maybe it will happen naturally on the pitch because of the combinations the guys are so used to from week in, week out at club level". The 30-year-old Scarlets centre was supreme in defence, leading the Welsh backs in tackles made (six) while he was monstrous going forward, too.

"They have picked a lot of Scarlets players and the Scarlets style is different".

"I don't know if it can be merged (into Wales' gameplan)".

"It's taken a long time for Scarlets to play that brand of rugby".

"We didn't even speak about it, to me the injuries were just an excuse", he added.

Wales scored four tries, bombed at least three more, and kept Scotland scoreless until the 78th minute when Peter Horne crossed for a consolation try. We had waited all week for an epic battle - but this now felt like not much more than a warm-up match for bigger challenges ahead.

They repeatedly rocked Scotland back on their heels through outstanding performances from the likes of lock Cory Hill, flankers Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi, plus Rhys Patchell on his first Test start as fly-half. Ireland, runner-up in the 2017 Six Nations Championship, looks to earn its third title in five years after winning back-to-back championships from 2014-15.

"There were a lot of players who were involved a year ago (in the loss at Murrayfield) and they wanted to make up for that disappointment".

There was much furore when Hadleigh Parkes was selected in Wales' squad for November's Autumn Internationals. There are a few of them.

Scotland spoke during the week about the importance of silencing the fervent home support early on and they actually made a pretty good fist of achieving that in the opening five minutes, with Jonny Gray and Stuart McInally both making thundering runs up the middle of the park.

And Hogg - the Six Nations Player of the Championship in each of the last two seasons - has been tipped to make a big impact following his eye-catching return from injury in the Warriors' European Champions Cup win over Exeter Chiefs on January 20. Our record here isn't great over some 40 years now and that's because it's a hard place to come to and that's what we've stressed.

Playing in the Principality Stadium - Barclay scored in the infamous 2010 game but doesn't remember much other than "all the injuries and the insane last ten minutes" - will inspire the Welsh but also the Scots, the skipper added.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

Discuss This Article