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Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Sunday, 8 February 2009
2009 Six Nations
7 Feb-21 March

BBC coverage | 606 | Official site

Happy Gatland thinks Wales will get better

Warren Gatland watched his Wales side launch their Grand Slam defence with a convincing 26-13 win in Scotland then issued a warning to rivals England.

The Six Nations champions scored four tries in the first hour at Murrayfield and next face Martin Johnson's men at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

"We showed some nice touches at times and had them under a lot of pressure.

"It is is a good position for me to be in," said Gatland. "There are a lot of things we can work on and improve."

Wales - minus injured duo Ryan Jones and Gavin Henson - scored four tries-to-one as Tom Shanklin, Alun Wyn Jones, Leigh Halfpenny and Shane Williams all crossed.

That gave the visitors a 26-6 lead after an hour before Max Evans scored a consolation try for Scotland with 11 minutes left.

"We scrummed well but the accuracy in the line-out needs a little work," Gatland told BBC Sport.

"I said at half-time that the game was for us to lose, not Scotland to win. We just needed to keep our discipline and be accurate to control the game - and we pretty much did that.

Highlights - Scotland 13-26 Wales

"I'm not concerned by the missed kicks at goal because we won the match, but our kicking coach Neil Jenkins isn't too happy as it put us under a little pressure.

"But the lads are good pros and will work on things but, to be fair to Stephen Jones and Leigh Halfpenny, the pitch was slippery and was difficult.

"Jamie Roberts had his best game in midfield. He was too big, too strong and a real handful for the Scots."

Roberts, who has mostly played wing and full-back for Wales so far, was named man-of-the-match for his powerful display.

"It is a great result because this is not an easy place to get a win, as we've found in recent years," Roberts said.

"It was an absolutely fantastic performance in the first half but we were on the edge of our seats at the end. But we defended well and that is what wins championships.

"Fair play to Scotland, they played very well towards the end. But we got the result here, we can go home and recover and I'm just looking forward to next week now - bring on England.

"The pressure and expectation is there from the Welsh public and we have got to live up to that if we want to move forward and produce more performances and results like this."

Stand-in skipper Martyn Williams, who took the captain's armband after Ryan Jones's late withdrawal with a calf strain, was pleased for more than one reason.

"I have led the side five times before and have lost five times," joked the veteran Blues flanker.


"So I was happy to get the win and get the monkey off my back.

"The expectation has been huge on us but we handled that pretty well - and full credit to the boys as our defence was outstanding; just to concede just one try with all the ball they had was an awesome effort.

"We gave a few penalties away late on and took our foot off the gas but Scotland were never going to lie down and showed how dangerous they are.

"We didn't finish the game the way we wanted but we would have taken the win this morning.

"The front five haven't got a lot of credit over the last 12 months but they were absolutely outstanding.

"This was potentially a huge banana skin for us and we are just glad to get the win.

"It is a short turnaround now before England and that is a massive game - but there's a lot for us to work on."

Gatland sent on six replacements in a three-minute spell just after the hour when Wales were 26-6 up, but later quipped: "Maybe the coach was being a little bit too over-confident making all those changes.

"We lost a bit of momentum but with a six-day turnaround before England I wanted to keep the lads fresh because the pitch took a lot out of the legs."

Try-scoring wing Shane Williams went off with a knock to his foot but Gatland was not unduly concerned. "Hopefully it is just something minor," he added.

Wales will announce their team to face England in Cardiff on Thursday, later than expected, to allow captain Jones and centre Henson, who both have calf strains, as much time as possible to recover.

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see also
Hadden stunned by sluggish Scots
08 Feb 09 |  Scottish
Scotland 13-26 Wales
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland v Wales as it happened
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland v Wales photos
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland v Wales match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations guide 2009
28 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union

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