Tuesday 22 October 2019

Wales using the fact that trophies are going to Murrayfield and Twickenham as motivation

Wales' backs coach Rob Howley
Wales' backs coach Rob Howley

Phil Blanche

Rob Howley admits Wales will be using the fact that RBS 6 Nations trophies are being sent to Twickenham and Murrayfield on Saturday as motivation for their own title-winning mission in Rome.

The real championship trophy will be at Twickenham where tournament leaders England host France while second-placed Ireland are aiming to lift the replica cup in Scotland.

But Wales, whose plus-12 points difference is 21 worse off than Ireland and 25 shy of England, hope to sneak in on the blindside by piling up the points against Italy on a weekend when abacuses could be at the ready.

"It's a common sense decision to do what they've done with the trophies," said Wales assistant coach Howley.

"Twenty-five and 21 points is a lot of points to make up, especially when you look at the points that have been scored in the championship.

"But the added motivation is that one trophy is going to Edinburgh and one is going to Twickenham.

"As a coach you use every motivation possible for your players and that is a motivating tool for us.

"We know where we stand and our motivation is to go out and win the game first. But if it's in our eyesight then we can put the pressure on Ireland and England."

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Wales' title hopes are encouraged by the fact that they piled up the points on the final weekend of the last two Six Nations campaigns.

Scotland were crushed 51-3 at the Millennium Stadium 12 months ago and Wales beat England 30-3 two years ago to claim the 2013 title.

"There is a collective belief but we have to play the game on our terms," Howley said.

"If we can do that and dictate the game then I think it will be an interesting last 25 minutes. But we have to be very pragmatic and show composure and patience.

"We can't throw the ball about early on. It's not a sevens game, it's an international Test match.

"We have to respect Italy because it's going to be a tough game."

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