Well, a win is a win, and 30-15 is a pretty comfortable win. However, Wales still need to improve. They did score some good tries (even if one of them was slightly dubious) and they defended well. Scotland never looked like scoring other than through Patterson’s boot, but Wales should never have given him five opportunities to kick goals. Their discipline needs working on. And they should have scored several more tries. Execution needs working on as well. Still, it was good to see Peel and Jones come on and take control when it was needed. It is always good to know that we can tighten things up if the need arises.
On the subject of the second Shane Williams try, I wasn’t at all sure whether he grounded the ball before or after his leg touched the corner post. Obviously the replay official was happy. And I should add that I’m always happy to see slightly dubious tries given if they involve the player in question making a beautiful, jinking run through the defense and an acrobatic dive for the line. No NFL wide receiver could have been more athletic. I note also that after last week’s games the Scots whined incessantly about the forward pass and lucky bounces. Now they are whining about bad refereeing. They need to stop whining and start playing.
So why am I do downbeat? Because it was clear from the get go that the standard of play between Ireland and France was well above that between Wales and Scotland. The French back three were magnificent, rivaling anything that Howlett, Muliaina and Rokocoko could produce. Nor were Ireland playing badly. Bruce and I were in an Irish pub in North London and the atmosphere during the spirited second half come-back by the Irish was wonderful. It is clear that the French can be beaten. And if the Irish had only kept the ball in hand at the end rather than tried a risky kick ahead they might have won.
Thankfully Wales have a home game against the Italians before they have to travel to Dublin. That gives more time for Gatland and Edwards to improve their play. And the Italians, I think, will be far more of a threat than Scotland, as England may well find out tomorrow.