Wales Must Look to the Set-Pieces

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), February 6, 2006 | Go to article overview

Wales Must Look to the Set-Pieces


Byline: By John Scott

Wales have to forget Twickenham and start again against Scotland.

England may not have been 34 points the better side on Saturday, but there was no doubting their superiority.

The build-up had been dominated by the damage England could do to Wales' scrum, but the area they attacked was the lineout and Wales' half-backs did not have much decent possession to work with.

Wales's Grand Slam success was based on their ability to raise the pace of a game by exploiting mistakes and counter-attacking quickly.

What received less attention was their organised defence which allowed them to absorb pressure.

By squeezing Wales' lineout and either stealing throws or ensuring that Wales could not get possession off the top, England could kick to touch without fear rather than booting the ball long and running the risk of a counter.

Where Wales were most disappointing was their failure to react to what was happening. They stuck to their game plan, but there were times when they should have rolled a few mauls and made England commit more forwards to the breakdown.

Instead, England got away with committing just two or three forwards to the tackle area and were able to clutter the midfield, forcing any number of turnovers.

With Wales having few options on the bench, they needed to have something to defend going into the final quarter, but they were already behind and had lost Martyn Williams to the sin-bin.

It was a harsh call on the flanker, but Robert Sidoli and Colin Charvis were supremely fortunate not to see yellow, and while two of England's late tries should have been ruled out, Wales could not blame the referee for their ruin.

Twickenham was a continuation of the way Wales had performed during the autumn. ]

Injuries have robbed them of players who were central to their game plan, such as Ryan Jones, Brent Cockbain and Tom Shanklin, and they have not been able to replace them in kind. …

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