Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Rees focused on Wales improvement

Matthew Rees

Matthew Rees claims Wales will not be distracted by France's scrummaging demolition job on Scotland as they prepare for their Murrayfield mission this weekend.

The Scots encountered all kinds of problems in Paris last Saturday, with tighthead Euan Murray given a torrid time by his opposite number Thomas Domingo. Paul James, a consistently powerful scrummager, is next up for Murray, but Wales captain Rees claims he is not reading too much into events at Stade de France.

"It is always a difficult task. France have got a formidable scrum, and I thought they set their stall out from the very first scrum of the game," said Rees.

"We are just concentrating on ourselves, making sure we put our own house in order. We know it's going to be tough on Saturday, and it is about making sure we turn up mentally as well as physically."

Wales' second game of their RBS 6 Nations campaign sees them striving to avoid going nine Tests without a win, a demoralising sequence that began when world champions South Africa triumphed in Cardiff last June.

But lock Bradley Davies insists there is no sense of panic in the Wales ranks, despite their miserable run.

Davies said: "Everyone is panicking at the moment except ourselves.

"We had some tough games in the autumn and we pushed some big teams close. Again, against England last week we did not quite nail those chances. Once that win comes, a lot of the pressure from individuals and the team will be released and we will play more freely.

"International rugby is about momentum and developing a winning mentality. But I am very confident and the players are confident in our abilities. A couple of narrow defeats does not make you a bad player or a bad team by a long shot.

"We are on a losing streak at the moment, and that is not nice. We need to develop that winning mentality and stop making the mistakes. Losing becomes a habit, but if we can win at Murrayfield then we are back in the tournament."

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