SCOTLAND’S capitulation to Wales on Saturday afternoon might have been a shock to the away team and their supporters, but home head coach Warren Gatland insisted afterwards that he was not surprised in the slightest by what he saw unfold at the Principality Stadium.
‘It was an afternoon I was expecting. With the way we have trained in the last couple of weeks there was definitely a quiet confidence in the squad. The guys have been outstanding in their preparation and we did go into the game expecting to win, and to win reasonably comfortably,” he stated.
“I said that to the chief executive yesterday at training. He said: ‘How do you think you’ll go?’ And I said: ‘I think we’ll win by 20.’ He looked a bit shocked, but that was how well we’d trained. In fairness to the guys, they’ve been excellent in the last two weeks.”
“It was a good way to get ourselves into the championship, having Scotland at home.”
“I thought we defended superbly. There are a lot of attacking threats from Scotland and we had to cope with that, but apart from that soft try at the end our defence was outstanding,” he added. “Getting the bonus try was pretty pleasing as well and we probably left two or three tries out on the pitch as well so there is improvement for us to do, and I think as a squad we’ll get better for next week.”
Meanwhile, Wales captains Alun Wyn Jones reckoned that his team’s two early tries actually made life harder – but drove the team on.
“It probably adds to the pressure because when you’ve got the lead you don’t want to lose it, and that was probably at the forefront of our thoughts, that we had to keep going because you can try to sit on a lead and we didn’t want to do that,” he explained.
“We probably got a bit attritional after the first 25 but we stuck to our process, kept the ball and got some opportunities we were disappointed not to take. But in the second half we moved the scoreboard on.”