Wales will start their preparations for Twickenham on Monday confronted with the prospect of assembly England and not using a specialist No 10 and charged with responding from what Warren Gatland described as one of many worst halves of his 34-year teaching profession.
Head coach Gatland noticed his facet lose to Scotland in Cardiff for the primary time since 2002 but in addition come as shut as doable to overturning a 27-0 deficit.
In the long run, Gregor Townsend‘s males nearly held on.
This charming 80 minutes was the archetypal sport of two halves. For the primary 40, Wales had been in Gatland’s personal phrases ‘horrible’ and ‘surprising’.
Then, with all seemingly misplaced, his staff got here roaring again from the lifeless to if not win, safe two dropping bonus factors.
Ioan Lloyd appears to be like set to start out at fly-half for Wales once they journey to England on Saturday
It was laborious to know what to make of all of it.
Scotland ended their Welsh capital hoodoo however for a lot of of tartan persuasion their staff’s close to capitulation made the ultimate end result nonetheless really feel like a loss.
Wales, in the meantime, face England on Saturday seeking to construct on the momentum of their second-half show however realizing they are going to doubtless be with out Sam Costelow for Twickenham.
Costelow is the one out-and-out fly-half in Gatland’s Six Nations squad however suffered a head harm in opposition to Scotland after being hit by Luke Crosbie.
The 23-year-old failed his head harm substitute and didn’t return to the sector after initially being changed by Ioan Lloyd on a short lived foundation. Costelow additionally failed a head harm evaluation final month after taking a blow taking part in for the Scarlets in opposition to Clermont Auvergne.
Again-to-back head accidents means Costelow is now an enormous doubt to face England with Lloyd prepared to start the sport.
Lloyd gained simply his third cap in opposition to Scotland however didn’t look misplaced.
Sam Costelow began in opposition to Scotland however suffered a head harm throughout the Six Nations loss
‘Trying again on the second-half efficiency if we will replicate that for the complete 80 that is thrilling however we want to verify it would not take that first half to get into it,’ mentioned Wales No 8 Aaron Wainwright, who was man-of-the-match after a try-scoring efficiency.
‘They (Scotland) had been maybe panicking a bit and a bit extra composure from us within the dying moments may have turned it. Subsequent week we have to go together with full power and accuracy.
‘With one other 5 minutes we in all probability would have gotten the win.
‘A sport of two halves sums it up completely. It was not the beginning we needed however we confirmed what we will do once we begin placing some stuff collectively. One of many encouraging issues was how we stored preventing and put ourselves in with an opportunity to win. That is going to provide us momentum for subsequent week.’
Wales had been definitely all at sea within the first 40. They misplaced 5 line-outs and even once they did have the ball, Costelow – within the time he was on the sector – simply kicked it away.
It allowed Scotland to go to the break 20-0 up and when Duhan van der Merwe grabbed his second, Wales had been 27-0 down and dealing with a hammering.
‘We had been in our shell throughout that first half,’ Wales wing Rio Dyer mentioned. ‘We had been hitting it up and getting placed on the again foot, so the one factor we may do then was kick it.
‘Warren mentioned at half-time: “Let’s really play. We now have acquired nothing to lose now.” He mentioned we will not be placing out performances like that within the first half within the first sport of the Six Nations.’
Wales scored 26 unanswered factors after trailing 27-0 early within the second half, with Man of the Match Aaron Wainwright (center) scoring his facet’s third strive
Wales responded to Gatland’s phrases and improved considerably. However they may hardly have gotten worse they usually additionally benefited from Scotland switching off.
James Botham, Dyer, Wainwright and debutant Alex Mann all scored to make it a one-point sport as a sold-out Principality Stadium crowd loved an exhilarating finale.
Wales got here up simply quick. Their Twickenham report is poor. Wales have misplaced their final seven Checks there since claiming a memorable 2015 World Cup pool win.
They’ve simply two London Six Nations victories to their identify – in 2008 and 2012 – because the competitors expanded 24 years in the past.
Wales will certainly make adjustments. George North will return within the again division and so too might Will Rowlands at lock. Tomos Williams should begin after showing from the bench to such nice impact in opposition to Scotland. The identical might be mentioned of Elliot Dee, who shored up a Wales line-out which struggled badly when Ryan Elias was at hooker.
For Scotland, the win was every little thing.
However, bizarrely, they could begin their preparations for France are barely downbeat.
The hosts fell simply in need of finishing what would have been a miraculous comeback
Lock Richie Grey is more likely to be dominated out of the remainder of the Six Nations because of a bicep harm. Darcy Graham is unlikely to get well for Les Bleus who misplaced to Eire in spherical one.
However Grant Gilchrist will return from a ban to step in for Grey and co-captain Rory Darge may also be match.
Doubts stay over prop WP Nel’s capability to face France.
‘They’re an important facet with world class gamers and a large pack. We have seen them play some sensible rugby within the final 12 months,’ Scotland head coach Townsend mentioned of France.
‘However we all know them effectively. We performed them 3 times final yr and had three very shut video games in opposition to them – one win, one very shut defeat, and the Six Nations sport once we needed to come again from a pink card and being down on the scoreboard. That was a very shut sport too.
‘We have to be higher and we all know we might be. We now have to indicate for 80 minutes what we confirmed within the first half in opposition to Wales.
‘France shall be determined to get a win on the again of two defeats, one within the World Cup and one in opposition to Eire.’