|Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 27 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT|
|Protection: Stay on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC iPlayer & Radio 5 Stay, BBC Sport web site and app, S4C.|
|Scotland v Wales highlights: Scrum V, BBC Two Wales, 18:00 GMT, Sunday, 14 February|
Who stated lightning couldn’t strike twice? Rees lightning, that’s.
Two wins in six days towards opposition with 14 males have left Wales enjoying for a Triple Crown towards England on 27 February in Cardiff. How did that occur?
Particularly when Wales have additionally been ravaged by accidents and began the match as fifth favourites in some quarters.
Nicely a bit little bit of luck, opposition ill-discipline, admirable character and the star high quality of 20-year-old Louis Rees-Zammit have mixed to supply a stark turnaround.
A breathless Murrayfield match has left Wales followers questioning what on earth they witnessed lower than six days after the loopy contest towards Eire.
However the final result is that Wayne Pivac’s aspect left Edinburgh with a bonus-point win and the primary away victory of his tenure.
They’re taking a look at early silverware after three rounds of the 2021 Six Nations regardless of ending fifth in final season’s match. They usually have not even performed that properly.
Let’s begin with the man-of-the-moment. The 20-year-old Gloucester wing demonstrated his try-scoring poacher’s prowess within the 21-16 win over Eire with a implausible end to assist seal victory in Cardiff.
That was simply the warm-up act. His brace towards Scotland, particularly the beautiful second solo attempt, suggests Wales have a famous person within the making.
The person-of-the-match even executed a superb banana kick within the dying minutes to assist seal the victory by pinning Scotland again.
“With the ball he was thrilling, took his alternatives and performed very properly,” stated Pivac.
“He is nonetheless acquired work to do on his sport and that is the thrilling factor, with out the ball. He will be a really thrilling participant for us.
“He has acquired the arrogance and tempo, which you’ll be able to’t coach.
“He is very fast and took that chance very properly. The talent with the kick was magnificent, I am happy for him.”
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones is 15 years older than the prodigy.
“I might heard so much about him and seen quite a lot of highlights,” stated Jones.
“Hopefully that is simply the tip of the iceberg. I do not wish to heap the stress on him, I need him to proceed in the same vein.”
Wales can’t deny they’ve benefitted from their opponents’ ill-discipline.
Eire flanker Peter O’Mahony was despatched off for a forearm to the face of Tomas Francis earlier than Scotland prop Zander Fagerson suffered the same destiny after his shoulder problem on prop Wyn Jones.
“It is robust,” stated skipper Alun Wyn Jones.
“I really feel for Zander, however as gamers all of us must observe the remit and we have to watch out ourselves now as a result of I am positive the microscope might be on us.”
Pivac believes it may show a turning level for gamers.
“There’s nothing else the officers can do,” stated Pivac.
“The legislation is fairly clear-cut now. It is a kind of unlucky issues. Gamers must look rigorously about how they enter these rucks.”
The character issue
So the Wales class of 2021 have ridden their luck and won’t declare they’ve change into world beaters within the house of per week. They haven’t.
They’ve although proven grit in abundance alongside the best way. Wales arrived in Murrayfield with 1 / 4 of their 36-man squad on the sidelines and the likes of George North, Jonathan Davies, Johnny Williams, Tomos Williams and Josh Navidi dominated out by way of harm. Twenty-one gamers lacking in complete.
Gamers similar to debutant Willis Halaholo and recalled James Botham had been drafted in at quick discover and excelled as replacements.
Pivac has acquired criticism but in addition demonstrated braveness in bringing off skilled however ineffective half-backs Dan Biggar and Gareth Davies for Callum Sheedy and Kieran Hardy, a chance that paid off.
Wales made 245 tackles within the victory over Eire and overcame a backline reshuffle in each video games which resulted in gamers performing out of place for lengthy durations.
Overcoming adversity has additionally been evident with centre Owen Watkin a first-rate instance. Watkin had been simply outflanked by Scotland skipper Stuart Hogg’s second attempt, however popped up with a match-winning faucet sort out.
Underneath Warren Gatland, Wales gained video games they need to not have. There may be proof to counsel that resilience is returning.
“We’ve proven quite a lot of character,” stated Pivac.
“It is a pleasing begin. With the quick turnaround, it was an important end result for our crew, particularly going deep into the squad in sure positions with the accidents we had. It bodes properly for the longer term and been an excellent squad effort.
“I am happy for the gamers as they’ve labored so exhausting. They’ve had an excellent two weeks in camp, longer than they normally have away from their households.
“So a end result like this in a tense sport is pleasant for administration and gamers.”
His feedback had been echoed by his skipper who has been backed up by elder statesmen Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau and the imperious Justin Tipuric, whereas Wyn Jones and Adam Beard have additionally impressed.
“Once more we needed to come from behind and it was good to see that character and resilience,” stated Jones.
“The senior guys are nonetheless making an attempt to place these performances in and lead by instance. I am privileged to work with guys who proceed so as to add worth.
“There’s a set of gamers right here not afraid to steer and set requirements.”
New 12 months, recent begin
So what has modified from the struggling aspect in 2020 who gained simply three video games in 10 beneath Pivac?
“It is properly documented what we did within the autumn and that was in view of the 2023 World Cup, constructing some depth,” added Pivac.
“You noticed with the aspect we put out, we have needed to name on depth at six and within the midfield, and all people put their hand up once they wanted to. We’re busy working as a bunch. The ambiance at coaching is nice and senior gamers are main properly.
“It is quite a lot of work by quite a lot of people, a squad effort. It is a lengthy option to go however we’re completely happy to have these 9 factors.”
Jones believes Wales are benefitting from the autumn disappointment.
“What you are seeing as properly is a product of the experimentation from the Autumn Nations Cup and the damage we took,” stated the veteran lock.
“We’re properly conscious there are huge enhancements to make, however I am happy with the resilience, character and delight within the jersey we’re exhibiting.”
So Eddie Jones’ aspect lie in wait in Cardiff after following up their opening defeat by Scotland with victory over Italy.
Wales may have key gamers like North, Navidi, Jonathan Davies and Josh Adams again in rivalry, however there might be doubts over full-back Leigh Halfpenny who failed a head harm evaluation after going off at Murrayfield.
“We’re conscious England had an excellent win (towards Italy) and are again on monitor,” stated Jones.
“We’ll be again on the Principality Stadium so we’ll regroup and enhance on the components we have to.”
Though lineout points had been resolved towards Scotland, Pivac is aware of the general efficiency must enhance considerably if Wales are to win that Triple Crown, even when there might be no followers within the floor.
“It was evident for everybody it wasn’t an entire efficiency (towards Scotland),” added Pivac.
“Alun Wyn has spoken about that within the altering room and we’ll deal with our sport over the subsequent couple of weeks.
“That is solely spherical two of the match and we’ll anticipate to enhance every time we take the sector.”
So can lightning strike twice? Simply bear in mind Wales stuttered to victories within the opening two rounds of the 2019 Six Nations earlier than an emphatic house victory over England laid the foundations for Grand Slam success.
What likelihood a repeat?
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