Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Howley wary of Scottish back row

Rob Howley is expecting a fierce battle on Saturday

Reigning RBS 6 Nations champions Wales will arrive at Murrayfield on Saturday on the back of five successive victories against Scotland.

While Wales revived their campaign following a home loss to Ireland by winning on the road in both Paris and Rome, Scotland sent Italy and Ireland packing from Murrayfield. They were results that kept both countries in title contention behind tournament favourites and Grand Slam-chasing England, although Saturday's losers will drop out of the running.

Wales boss Rob Howley said: "Scotland have been really impressive, having to defend without much possession. And they have played some good rugby. When you look at their individuals - their back-three against our back-three - it is going to be some game in terms of counter-attacking and ball in hand."

He added: "Dean Ryan (forwards coach) has given them a steely edge, and the breakdown area will be key. They are at home and will fancy their chances.

"They have played particularly well and they have done something this year that we have not in beating Ireland at home. We could not manage that accolade.

"We have come out on the right side in the last couple of years in this fixture, and we will need that attitude again on Saturday.

"We were fortunate to beat them at the Millennium Stadium (in 2010) through a Shane Williams try in the last minute. They should have beaten us, and they were more physical than us in the contact area.

"When you look at their matches in the last 18 months, they might have come out on the other side. The margins are small.

"They have done enough to win games, but that is international sport and we have been there."

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