Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones expects the unexpected against Scotland

Alun Wyn Jones believes Wales must be ready to "expect the unexpected" when they chase a 10th successive victory over Scotland on Saturday.

Wales will arrive at Murrayfield with their RBS 6 Nations title ambitions still intact, despite the agony of England wing Elliot Daly's 75th-minute try consigning them to defeat in Cardiff a fortnight ago.

Scotland are also on the back of a loss - 22-16 against France in Paris - but perhaps more significantly, they go into battle this weekend without three key injured players in skipper Greig Laidlaw, number eight Josh Strauss and wing Sean Maitland.

Wales are unbeaten in the fixture since seven Chris Paterson penalties downed them in 2007, with four of their subsequent wins being in Edinburgh, gained at an average 26 points a time.

With prolific try-scoring wing George North returning to the starting line-up after injury, Wales are favourites to continue their long winning run at Scotland's expense, but captain Jones is braced for an intense encounter.

"I am very fortunate to have been involved in those games when we have had success against them," he said.

"But it is a different Scottish team to the one we have seen before. We are very focused on the squad we have, and what we need to do.

"You are only as good as your next game, not your last one, and we will focus on that.

"We started how we wanted to against England, particularly in possession. We were under intense pressure at times, and we were able to rebuff that. We will probably experience a lot of the same against Scotland.

"We've seen the willingness Scotland have to use the ball, and marry that with some of the things they've displayed from set-piece, then we have to be on our guard and expect the unexpected.

"We have to expect the unexpected - particularly from a team which is on a high."

Scotland caught Ireland out three weeks ago with some of their set-piece plays on the way to a thrilling victory, and Jones will go into the contest with his eyes wide open.

"We would like to think we are up there with the more mobile packs, and they've displayed that, not only with their funny plays, but also across the park," he added. "That's what is getting them tries at the moment.

"You prepare for what you've seen, and weaknesses they might have. You have to try and get into the mind of the opposition, but it's very easy to over-think these things."

Wales completed their preparations with a session for the kickers at Murrayfield on Friday afternoon, after which skills coach Neil Jenkins highlighted the importance of Saturday's clash.

"The third game of the tournament is always massive - it can keep you going for a Grand Slam or get you back in the mix for the championship - so for both sides it's huge, and both sides need to win," he said.

"We have to win tomorrow, really, if we are going to stand any chance of winning the championship. It's going to be pretty close, but hopefully it goes our way.

"Scotland's performance against Ireland was outstanding, and it was very close in Paris a week later against France. It is always a tough game up here."

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be among the Murrayfield crowd on Saturday, and Jenkins added: "O ur game against Scotland, our game against Ireland in a couple of weeks' time, England against Ireland at the end of the championship, all these games are going to be massive towards Lions selection and who fronts up and who plays well."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph