Scotland v Wales reaction: ‘Talk is cheap’, says victorious captain Jamie Ritchie

Flanker says his team won't get carried away by winning first two games of this year's Six Nations

Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie with the Doddie Weir Cup. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie with the Doddie Weir Cup. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE two sides to Jamie Ritchie’s personality as captain of the Scotland men’s rugby team were on display during yesterday’s post-match press conference.

Initially, the blindside flanker announced his arrival in the media room under the West Stand at Murrayfield with a loud and affable ‘hello’ … having appeared from nowhere, it seems, much like he does when winning a turnover or penalty over the tackled man on the pitch.

This is now an established press conference routine, which tends to be the precursor for a light-hearted if not particularly illuminating briefing with the 26-year-old flanker, who – not unreasonably – would rather do his serious talking on the pitch.


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However, there was the slightest hint of his mood darkening when he was quizzed about opposition stand-off Dan Biggar‘s pre-match comments in which he expressed frustration about Scotland being over-hyped.

“They’re red-hot favourites, best team in the tournament, so we’ll see how they go Saturday,” taunted Biggar. “We don’t seem to get any credit, and other teams seem to get a lot of praise for probably not quite the success we’ve had, but that’s how it goes.”

“Medals are important when you look back at your career, and we’ve been lucky enough to fill the cabinet a few times, and it’s up to other teams to try and replicate that really,” he added.

Speaking immediately after his team’s record win over Wales, Ritchie was clearly loathe to get involved in a public slanging match, but was forceful in stating that: “I didn’t’ know he [Biggar] had said anything like that. Talk is cheap.

“We’ve not won anything yet – just a few games – so we’re looking forward to France [who Scotland play next in a fortnight’s time in Paris].

“They [Wales] have got the better of us in the past, but today we won.

“I’m glad we backed up a good performance at Twickenham,” he continuied. “We’ve been questioned on that before because we haven’t done it in the past.

“Our main theme during the week is that we want to develop consistency, and I’ll keep hammering home that a successful tournament for us is five good performances – so that’s two ticked off, and I think we improved on England last week so we’ll be looking to improve again against France.

“So, we’re delighted with the win,” he added. “It wasn’t perfect – there was a few clunky bits like there was last week, but it’s good to be winning whilst having bits to improve.

“France is our next focus. We’ve got next weekend off so not everybody will be in together but we just spoke [as a group] about recovering well and getting our prep right so we are in the best possible place to hit the ground running for the France week.

 

Wales conceded 17 penalties over the course of the game, which their head coach, Warren Gatland, was quick to acknowledge is far too many for a team to be competitive at this level.

“I think we just put them under pressure,” said Ritchie. “We knew that if we stuck to our game then we would create opportunities, and often when a team is under pressure you see their discipline slip.

“We knew they’d want to turn it into a messy game. That’s what you saw last year down there, so we knew if we stayed out of that and played our game then we’d create opportunities and put them under pressure.”

“It wasn’t too much change [after a disjointed first half], it was just about ‘do what we had been doing but do it better’. We spoke about bringing energy and bringing accuracy, and being ruthless was a theme we spoke about before the game as well … and when there was swings of momentum, making sure we won that next moment.”

Ritchie added that Finn Russell‘s highly-praised performance should not be viewed in isolation.

“Finn is a world class player, and we know that if we as a team perform well and we give ourselves a platform to allow him to play his best rugby, then we’ve got guys he can put into space who will finish opportunities,” he concluded.


Scotland v Wales: Scotland player ratings

 

About David Barnes 3908 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

4 Comments

  1. Despite the medals that Biggar has won I dont think many people will look back at his career and think he was better than Russell. I certainly know which one I’d rather spend a night in the pub with.

    • Not quite sure how spending a night in a pub with someone has any bearing on his ability as a rugby player.

  2. Have to say I agree with Gaffer, the Welsh under Gatland became a team that I felt for many years were not superior to us, but kept coming out on top and turning each match into a turgid mess. Fair play to them for finding ways to beat us for so long, but giving them an absolute battering, to borrow from Gatland’s phrasebook, is super satisfying. I really dislike Biggar and Liam Williams Football antics all over the park, feigning injury and constantly complaining, it’s corny crap that I hate seeing in rugby games.

    Bigger tests to come, but after their disjointed performance yesterday I don’t think Scotland should fear France. Not saying we will turn them over, just don’t see why we can’t score on their overhyped defence.

  3. ‘We knew they would want to turn it into a messy game’ doesn’t that just about summit up. Too many times we have lost games against Wales which we should have won due to our lack of discipline or them conning the ref. Not exactly noble ways to win games but no one cares or sees that in the record books unfortunately. The Welsh have a fantastic record in the championship, fantastic grass roots amateur teams and a fantastic travelling support ideally as a Scotsman they should be our second favourite team. unfortunately, over the years under Gatland they have built a reputation for winning over the referee , whether through the enormous vocal 16 th man that is the millenium stadium, players feigning serious injury , controlling the TV editing so only the failures of the opposing team are highlighted, failing to engage at scrum time or Biggar and AWJs’s never ending complaining and arm waving.
    The result being a win over the Welsh for me is more highly prized than a Calcutta cup win.
    Well done Ritchie and the team

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