Clinical Wales delight Howley

First published in Wales rugby Campaign Series: Photograph of the Author by

WALES caretaker coach Rob Howley was delighted with how clinical his side were after their comprehensive victory over Italy at the weekend.

And he must be pleased to be presented with selection dilemmas ahead of their next Six Nations clash, away at Scotland in a fortnight.

The same tried-and-tested XV delivered another gritty win for a man who was under big pressure after an eight-game losing streak.

Wales backed up their courageous triumph in Paris over France with an equally gutsy success in Rome.

Howley will have to ponder whether or not he brings back lock Alun Wyn Jones at the expense of Andrew Coombs.

He will also have to consider giving Sam Warburton the number seven shirt again or sticking with Justin Tipuric.

Gethin Jenkins’ calf injury is a worry after a fine opening 45 minutes before he was replaced by Paul James in Saturday’s 26-9 win.

Howley expressed his concern at the potential loss of the loosehead prop who was winning his 97th cap.

“Gethin has pulled his calf,” he said. “We are not too sure how severe it is, whether it’s a grade one or a grade two.

“He’ll have medical treatment throughout the week and we will have to wait and see whether he is available for the next international.

“We’ve got a week off, which will give everyone an opportunity to make sure they are right for Scotland.”

Howley was delighted with the way his side managed to adapt to the dreadful conditions, the rain cascading down in Biblical proportions during the first half.

“We wanted to play with pace, intensity and tempo in our game,” said Howley.

“But given the deluge and how wet and greasy the ball was, that was never going to be the case.

“I think we adapted really well to the conditions. That was the most pleasing aspect.”

Howley continued: “Our scrum was very impressive and that gave us the platform. We got a lot of field position.

“Obviously there was a lot of kicking in the game. We were really pleased with our patience and composure.”

Wales demonstrated devastating finishing, centre Jonathan Davies capitalising by scoring their first try after a chip by Mike Phillips caused chaos in the Italy defence, and wing Alex Cuthbert bagged the second from a neat move.

“In the second half we were clinical and took our opportunities,” Howley said. “It’s a testament to the attitude and application of the players in difficult conditions.”

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