Alun Wyn Jones wants Wales to show a clinical edge when they tackle Guinness Six Nations opponents Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Wales have headed north of the border following an opening weekend win against Ireland, but also minus a quarter of their 36-man Six Nations squad sidelined by injuries or suspension.
And they face a Scotland side buoyant after a famous Calcutta Cup victory over England last weekend, which was their first triumph at Twickenham since 1983.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) February 12, 2021
“It’s funny,” Wales captain Jones said. “Sometimes it’s like trying to keep the tide out – one area improves, and another reneges.
“Our scrum was improved and the pictures we showed there, and we were pleased with the lineout defence. We probably let a couple go in attack.
“Generally, our defence had improved and our territory was there, but when we have that possession, particularly on entries into the 22, we have got to capitalise. We have got to come away with something.
“The two main ones would be capitalise on the possession we have, and elements of execution in the lineout where we let ourselves down, we will improve on.”
Absentees from Wales’ latest Murrayfield mission include George North, Josh Adams, Jonathan Davies, Dan Lydiate and Josh Navidi.
Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin forge a new-look midfield partnership, Liam Williams returns on the wing and Aaron Wainwright is recalled to the back-row as Wales target a 17th victory from their last 20 Tests against Scotland.
They have yet to win away, though, since Wayne Pivac succeeded Warren Gatland as head coach, with all four Test victories of his reign so far coming on home soil against Italy (twice), Georgia and Ireland.
Jones added: “Reflections (on the Ireland game) are that it was a win. The character showed through.
“Ireland were galvanised by the red (flanker Peter O’Mahony’s red card), we probably put a bit of pressure on ourselves in the first half, and we came through that and won the game.
“We have obviously got a few changes, and it is a further test of the squad in another fixture.
“It is obviously disappointing for the guys that have been injured in the game and in training, but it’s a test of the squad and we have to move on. You feel for those guys.”
Although Scotland did not claim the emphatic margin of victory against England that their dominance warranted, there were still numerous threatening moments provided by their chief attacking catalysts Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg.
And Jones was impressed by what he saw as the Scots made a towering statement of intent on the tournament’s opening day.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 12, 2021
“They were due probably a win like that, and to do it in a Calcutta Cup match was obviously very special for them and the competition,” he said.
“In fairness to Scotland, they haven’t deviated from their attacking game.
“Their set-piece has been a staple throughout, and with the spine of the team with Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, they haven’t deviated from maintaining that appetite for attack, and to see them continue to do that, particularly in those conditions, was a credit to them.
“We are well aware of the threats that they have – we know the box of tricks that Finn has, and the ability he has to play – but we have got to focus on the XV, not solely on an individual.”