Gatland targets title push after Scotland win

2016-02-15 10:39
Warren Gatland (Gallo Images)

Cardiff - Warren Gatland insists Wales remain in contention for the Six Nations title despite a scrappy 27-23 victory over Scotland in Cardiff.

Jamie Roberts and George North scored second-half tries as Wales came from behind to win at the Principality Stadium.

Wales next face France, also unbeaten after two games, in Cardiff in two weeks and Gatland upped the stakes by admitting their Championship hopes were on the line.

"We had to dig deep and use everything we had in the tank to grind out the victory, especially after a six-day turnaround," said Gatland.

"For us now it's about the next two weeks and if we beat France then we are potentially playing England for the Championship.

"It's still early days with France and it always takes a new coach a few games to make an impact but the two-week break will stand us in good stead."

On Saturday, Gareth Davies crossed inside seven minutes for his sixth in seven Tests, despite appeals for offside from Scotland.

Tommy Seymour hit-back and the boot of captain Greig Laidlaw put Scotland ahead until 15 minutes from time.

"There are no easy games as we've seen the improvement of all sides. Both teams went hard at each other, Scotland made the breakdown tough for us and it could have gone either way," added Gatland, whose team opened their campaign with a 16-16 draw against Ireland.

"The two sides we have played so far have employed very similar tactics so we changed it up a bit in the second half and played a bit more for territory and it was a proper test match.

"But our set-piece was excellent, we got better as the game went on and maybe the difference was we took our chances

"You need guys like George North and Jamie Roberts for big moments and that's something we have been working on."

North's try was his first after a five-game drought.

"Sometimes players go through a period of not scoring. For whatever reason his recent form hasn't quite matched up to when he burst onto the scene," said Gatland.

"But he looked dangerous and it's pleasing to see him have that confidence. Hopefully he can kick on from here."

Scotland have not won in Cardiff since 2002 and Duncan Taylor's late try could not end their miserable run of nine defeats in a row in the Six Nations.

"We are getting closer. We are doing so many good things but a couple of soft moments cost us. We just gave them the game in the end. Credit to Wales, they were better on the day," said Laidlaw.

"I certainly thought it was offside for Wales' fist try and you could see that from our body language on the field. We thought it was a penalty but we are not going to get that back. We just have to move on from this."

Scotland are sweating on the fitness of Stuart Hogg and Sean Maitland following injuries though hope to have Peter Horne, Richardt Strauss and Grant Gilchrist back in contention for their next game against Italy in Rome.

Head coach Vern Cotter said: "We were in this game until the 65th minute. There were much better parts to the game than last week and things that will help us moving forward.

"We are upset and disappointed not to win but there are no excuses from us we will keep working to become more accurate and hopefully we'll get what we want."

Read more on:    wales  |  six nations  |  warren gatland  |  rugby


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