Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Brown braced for stiff Wales test

Kelly Brown is aware of Wales' threat

Scotland captain Kelly Brown believes champions Wales will pose his team the toughest challenge of their RBS 6 Nations campaign so far.

But the Scots are not looking to complicate preparations for Saturday's Murrayfield clash following wins over Italy and Ireland. Interim head coach Scott Johnson led Scotland to consecutive Six Nations victories for the first time in 12 years on the back of intense work on the fundamentals of the game, following his anger at the way his side approached the collision area in their opening defeat against England.

And Brown believes more repetition is the key to challenging the Welsh as he expects his side could be under even more pressure than in their backs-to-the-wall display against Ireland. Brown said: "If you look at their squad, it's absolutely filled with Lions and world-class players."

He added: "I would say it will be our toughest challenge in the championship so far but as a sportsman you want to be challenged by the top teams and there is no doubt Wales are one of those."

Scotland have not won three successive games in the tournament since it was the Five Nations - a 16-14 win over Wales in 1996 set up a Grand Slam chance against England, which they lost as their opponents clinched the title on points difference.

Victory over Wales on Saturday would again leave them in with a chance of winning the trophy on the final weekend but Brown is not getting carried away.

"Everyone in the squad is very grounded," he said. "There is no doubt we take a lot of confidence from the last two wins but we know the performances were far from perfect.

"We have looked at those and identified the things we need to improve. We have been working hard to make sure that, when we take the field on Saturday, we are as well prepared as we possibly can be.

"Rugby is a relatively simple game. If you can do the basics exceptionally well when you are under pressure, then you will do pretty well.

"We sat down and we spoke about four key areas that we need to get right and we have been working on these every day in training. And you can see all of the guys becoming more and more accomplished in these areas."

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