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Wales victory lifted pressure says Jamie Roberts

Shane Williams

Highlights - Scotland 6-24 Wales

Wales centre Jamie Roberts says Saturday's 24-6 Six Nations win in Scotland has lifted the pressure caused by an eight-match winless streak.

Coach Warren Gatland has pointed out that run included three defeats to New Zealand, two to South Africa and one to the other Tri-Nations power, Australia.

But last week's Cardiff loss to England saw Welsh morale dip to a new low.

"It's important more than anything to enjoy that feeling of winning again," Roberts told BBC Wales' Scrum V.

"Obviously we hadn't won in a long time and it was a big pressure off our shoulders.

"There's no doubt going into the game as individuals and collectively we were under a huge amount of pressure.

"That's the way international rugby is and certainly coming off the back of eight losses that pressure grows.

"You could kind of sense that in the lead-up to the game, certainly the night before the match and the day of the game there was that edge about us.

Scrum V analysis

"A lot of the boys were very nervous and we went out there in that first half and turned that into a performance, which was key."

James Hook kicked 14 points on his first Test start at fly-half since 2009 and created one of wing Shane Williams' two tries as Wales kick-started their Six Nations campaign at Murrayfield.

"Shane scored a wonderful try first up, James Hook running through the defensive line and off-loading to him after numerous phases," Roberts said.

"The main aim was just to play the right game. We spoke about keeping ball in hand; we were guilty against England of kicking ball away when we were in a dominant position a few times.

"We knew if we kept the ball in hand and went through phases we could cause Scotland problems and we certainly did that."

It took a colossal defensive effort by Wales to see them home, as Gatland's men made 137 tackles - 54 more than Scotland - and kept their opponents try-less despite the home side completing 199 passes, dominating possession and territory.

Roberts rues Lamont tackle

Wales even survived going down to 13 men late in the first half when lock Bradley Davies and full-back Lee Byrne were sent to the sin-bin in quick succession.

Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips echoed fellow British and Irish Lions star Roberts in his determination to prove a point after their opening home loss to England last week.

"The boys were devastated after England last week, no one more than me to be honest, and one of the ways of showing your frustration is in defence," said Phillips.

"Even though we were down to 13 for six minutes or so, we showed loads of heart and spirit. We threw ourselves into everything, we showed a lot of backbone there.

"People have got to want to make tackles and the boys really showed that. The commitment and belief was huge.

"It also puts a lot of pressure on the opposition because they feel as if they have got to score, they feel as if they should score and they panicked a bit."

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see also
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