Scotland v Wales: John Dalziel wary of opponents

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SCOTLAND forwards coach John Dalziel has warned that we will see “a different Wales” today compared to the one that lost at home to his own team back in October. In fact, for all that the Welsh were widely written off before the Six Nations began, Dalziel believes they are likely to cause more problems for Scotland than England, Championship favourites before a ball was kicked, managed last week.

Wales were still adapting to the changes made by new coach Wayne Pivac when they met Scotland in Llanelli four months ago, and were arguably fortunate to lose by just 14 points to 10. But the evidence of their victory over Ireland last Sunday was that they have left an indifferent run of results and performances behind them, and Dalziel believes that players such as back-row forward Justin Tipuric constitute a real threat to the home side at BT Murrayfield.

“We saw a different Wales last week around what their new coaching team is trying to implement,” he said. “Having Tipuric there to be that link between backs and forwards and really drive that attacking game plan – he looked a real handful. 

“Wales’ defence was at a really high level against Ireland, and so was their scrum. With the individuals they have, they’re the full package.

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“Wales are going to cause us a few issues in certain areas – far more than England did based on their game plans. In the first 20 minutes, even before Ireland went down to 14 men, they played some of the best rugby we’ve seen from Wales. You could see that attacking intent they had, so we’re going to be tested by a team that wants to play a bit more.”

Any desire on the part of either the Scots or Welsh to play an expansive game four months ago was thwarted by a swirling wind, and although the temperature today could drop well below freezing, Dalziel believes that conditions will be more conducive to an entertaining game. “In Wales I was woken up halfway through the night with the wind and rain battering off the windows,” he recalled. 

“It was horrible. The weather played a part in terms of the stop-start nature of the game.

“I think both teams will play a lot more [this time]. It’ll be a far more open and exciting game.”

Scotland’s supporters may have been on a high ever since their historic Twickenham triumph, but Dalziel is sure that the team will be able to keep their feet on the ground. And, while playing two Tests in quick succession is always extremely demanding, the coach is confident that, with a fallow week to follow, his players will feel able to throw all their energies into this match.

“The way the players have trained, the fact they’ve got smiles on their faces and their energy levels are recharged, there will be no complacency. They know it’s 80 minutes then a week off to recover. We’ll empty everything out.”

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