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Wales finally get the win
Posted Feb 18, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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It will come as a massive relief to Warren Gatland and everyone in Wales that their side has finally ended the losing streak that had reached eight matches following their defeat to England last week. Was it an impressive match in which do to so? Not really. Will they care? Probably not.
The Welsh performance was a long way from being spectacular, but they did what they had to do to get the job done, following a performance against the old enemy that was far from the disaster that many had made it out to be simply because it involved defeat against England. Against the Scots at Murrayfield, Wales showed sufficient resiliency to comfortably win.
Several individual performances have to be congratulated. Flanker Dan Lydiate in particular was excellent, and James Hook at fly-half was also impressive barring the odd mis-kick. Sam Warburton was also very good. The Welsh simply looked more penetrating going forward – one of the primary criticisms following the match was a lack of attacking bite – and Jamie Roberts encompassed this in the centre.
Scotland, though, will have to do a lot of thinking over the course of the next few days, following a performance for which the word ‘dire’ doesn’t quite cover all the bases. Dan Park’s inclusion at fly-half still seems to generate a constant question mark, his apparent over-conservatism really unsuited to the position. The overall team performance will seem a big let down following what was a decent enough performance against the French.
With most of the main highlights of play having taken place in the first half, the second ended up with a complete lack of spark. With Wales having taken a 16-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, Scotland didn’t really seem able to provide the penetration that would lead to overcoming what is a big lead, even when Wales had been sent down to 13 men following a mis-timed challenge by Byrne. The Scots had more territory and possession, but nothing really came of it. In the end, the second half concluded with exchanged penalities and a Welsh try that further increased the deficit between the two sides.
The fact that Wales have now removed the losing stigma will do them wonders. Scotland will be left with a lot to think about if they wish to avoid their final match against Italy becoming a wooden spoon contest.