Six Nations 2015: Sam Warburton delighted with win over Scotland
Wales captain impressed by toughest Scotland he has ever faced as they hold out for a 26-23 win to keep their title hopes alive
Sam Warburton admitted he was delighted to come through a tough match to defeat Scotland 26-23 at BT Murrayfield.
With Wales still having an outside chance of winning the RBS 6 Nations, despite their opening round defeat to England in Cardiff, the Wales captain knew there was pressure to bounce back from the disappointment from week one.
We came out knowing that if we’d lost that was championship race over for us…Murrayfield is a tough place to come, and I’m delighted to get the win.
It wasn’t a perfect performance from Wales, but there was a notable improvement by the forwards and their tactical kicking orchestrated by Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb as Wales tried to keep the game flowing rather than become the arduous arm wrestle they endured against the Red Rose.
Wales’ try-scoring heroes were Webb and centre Jonathan Davies, while points machine Leigh Halfpenny was almost flawless with 16 points off the tee.
But Wales gifted Scotland an early try when Alex Cuthbert was isolated and Scotland quickly stole the ball and sent it wide to full-back Stuart Hogg, who wasted no time in breezing past Richard Hibbard and Rhys Webb on his way to the tryline. Greig Laidlaw, who added three penalties, landed the conversion.
It could have been much worse, but for some resilient defensive work in their own 22 and perhaps a couple of favourable calls from referee Glen Jackson, who preferred to make decisions himself rather than go to the TMO, doing so only to chalk off a Liam Williams second-half try for obstruction, two aerial clashes that resulted in yellow cards, and checking if time was over at the end of the game.
“It was really important to win,” Warburton said. “We’ve said every game becomes a must win game.
“It would take a mathematical miracle to win the championship with just three wins, so we have to win all four to give ourselves any chance.
“We came out knowing that if we’d lost that was championship race over for us.
“There was a lot of pressure to deliver a win today.
“Murrayfield is a tough place to come, and I’m delighted to get the win.”
The Cardiff Blues flanker also revealed that he expected to face a final kick-off before referee Glen Jackson blew the final whistle and that was what they discussed as Scotland out-half Finn Russell lined up his conversion for Jon Welsh’s try with seconds remaining on the clock.
While they were spared one final defensive effort, much to the chagrin of the Scottish players, officials and supports, Wales were confident that they would have been able to keep the Dark Blues out of scoring range.
“We were chatting about what our next kick-off was going to be and the best chance of us keeping Scotland out or retaining possession, so we were ready for that kick-off,” he added.
“We would have been in a good place to have held out Scotland; we would have backed ourselves.
“If we would have kicked deep, we would have backed ourselves from 80-90 yards out from our tryline, but I wasn’t going to complain when they blew the final whistle.”
Warburton also conceded that he was impressed by the improvements made by Scotland under New Zealander Vern Cotter having faced them a number of times in the Six Nations.
“My first involvement against Scotland was in 2010. I’ve played against them about five times now and that was the toughest match I’ve been involved in.
“Credit to Scotland, they piled in at the breakdown; competed very well there. Driving lineout was effective.
“I think we managed to deal with that as the game went on, but they impressed me.”