Thursday 27 October 2016

Wales hoping to hold off Ireland as European Championship concludes

Published 06/11/2015 | 14:26

Dale Ferguson will captain a youthful Scotland against France
Dale Ferguson will captain a youthful Scotland against France

Wales are 80 minutes away from going from wooden spoonists to title winners inside 12 months when the 2015 European Championship reaches a conclusion on Saturday.

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Wales need only a draw from their final match against Ireland in Bray to be crowned champions but defeat would pave the way for either the Irish or France to claim the title.

Ireland will need to win by 25 points more than the French, who kick off against Scotland four hours before the game in Bray, and will be hoping to make up for their near miss 12 months ago.

Ireland coach Mark Aston, whose side were denied by a last-minute Welsh try in Wrexham last year, said: "Here we are again, in the same position as last year, needing to beat Wales by a big score to win the Championship.

"We hope the Scots can do us a favour and keep the target low but at least we'll know what we have to do by the time we kick off.

"Wales are a tougher proposition than last year and we'll need to be on our best form to pull it off but I'm confident the boys will dig in and go for it - it should be a great occasion."

Wales lost both fixtures in 2014 but are the favourites to pick up their first title since 2010 after gaining impressive wins over Scotland and France.

"We believe we can do it," Wales coach John Kear said. "There's an air of confidence in the group."

Bradford forward Dale Ferguson will captain Scotland for the first time in the absence of the injured Danny Brough as coach Steve McCormack prepares to give a debut to second rower Gavin Grant, an Aberdonian who plays for Coventry Bears, in his youngest ever team for the game in Avignon.

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