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stadium, where tomorrow night, Chris Coleman's men face a fight
for World Cup qualification survival, against a very familiar
survival, against a very familiar foe in Scotland.
A fixture that hasn't always been a # This is the end
People make mistake, he made a catastrophic one, it lost us the
game. # If the sky falls
# And it comes down # John Heartson w what a great
So, plenty to look forward to tonight's Sport Wales.
Coming up: The Scots are in town to kick start
their campaign, for Wales it is simple, win. No excuses for us
moving forward now, we have to make sure that we set the record
straight in these two games that are coming up. We catch up with the
man stepping into Warren GATTland's shoes, we talk autumn
internationals and the biggest job in Welsh rugby. I thoroughly enjoy
the coaching, can't wait until the autumn to get the players back in
and look forward to the challenges ahead in the autumn. The former
Scarlet, who is now a Wasp, says there are reasons to be cheerful.
If you are a Welsh supporter, you can be optimistic of how Wales will
do this year. In under 24 hours time, Chris Coleman will send his
team out from this dressing room, hoping they can revive their World
Cup qualifying campaign, after a disastrous start. Earlier today
both Wales manager and captain shared their thoughts ahead of two
crucial games, the first against Scotland tomorrow night, and then
against Croatia on Tuesday. Time to believe is the Manchester
United dra from the marketing men. Time running -- mantra from the
marketing men, time unareing out is what will inspire Chris Coleman's
team. We have to get some points over the next few games, to give us
a chance to cause damage in the qualifiers. More misfortune, more
mayhem over the next five days, and the road to Rio could be closed off
with just four games gone. excuses moving forward, we have to
make sure we set the record straight in the two games coming up.
The picture looks worrying after the loss to Belgium and hammering
in Syria. Wales at the bottom of the group, no points, one goal
scored, and a goal difference of minus eight. Anything less than
four points from the next two games leaves them with only the slightest
hope of qualifying of the If you lose the first two, you will to do
something in the next two. The teams above you, unless they all
draw, that is a possibility, but I can't see it. So if one of them
gets a win, it is seven points, maybe you will go to ten, that is a
big, big, margin, when you are only playing ten games, with six left.
We are going to win the first game, first and foremost, then go to
Croatia, depending on what happens Friday, whether it is a must-win,
sometimes you can take a draw from a game like that. I think no-one
has won the first two games, if we get two positive results from these
two, we will be in amongst it. Players make mistake, if they make
mistake, given their best, not a lot you can say about that. You can
guide them tatically or technically, but what I don't forgive easily, is
when players don't turn up. And we didn't against Serbia. So this time,
for his own sake, Coleman needs a win that has he will luded him in
the first four games. No Wales manager in history has lost five,
but he's unphased by the pressure on him. I don't listen to the media
or read newspapers, I can't afford it. If someone is saying positive
don't listen either, stay in the middle. That is what I try to do. I
try to look at it as logically as I can. I have been doing it ten years
and managed in three different countries, and 150 games in the
Premier League, the scrutiny of that job is hard enough. So it's
not something I worry about. What's going to be will be. All I can do
is affect now and the next -- effect now and the next game.
players we are fully behind the manager, for anyone to suggest that
the manager is under any pressure, is wrong, the only manager under
pressure is Craig Levein. Everyone has the same feeling that we need
to win the game for him, ourselves and the country and everyone else,
we need to win the game for him and perform well. That will be in the
back of our heads. Maybe a change of leader on the field will inspire
Wales, as Ashley Williams replaces Aaron Ramsey as captain. It is men
like Liverpool's Joe Allen, the newly-crowned, Player of the Year,
who they need performances from. Especially with Craig Bellamy,
among several others, missing through injury, leading to more
speculation about his international future. Where will the missing
goals come from, what about Barnsley eight-goal striker, Craig
Davies. We have been look at his goal-scoring record over the last
two years, he has scored 40 goals. He's the top scorer in the
championship with seven. It's good to push Steve Morison, Churchy, he
has impressed this week, we have a lot of players missing, not just
one. We are concentrating on the boys we have got. They are here to
play for their country, here to put themselves on the line. The
pressure is there tomorrow, but they are here, and we are
concentrating on them. We will get them ready, and we will do our best
to try to get a good result. Scotland's last visit to Cardiff,
three years ago, Wales won 3-0 in a friendly, much more at stake for
both sides this time, in a contest between players, used to squaring
up of the Another fantastic nation for us to compete against. It is
during this week now we will work, you get preparations right for the
game. Had to deal with certain elements of how they play. Again,
we are extra motivate today make sure we pick up all three points. -
- motivated to make sure we pick up all three points. We understand the
importance of the game, it is a great game against one of the home
nation, Scotland. Playing at home we want to win. Tomorrow we have
Scotland, a typical British derby game, if you like. A superb
atmosphere, and we have to use that to our benefit. I know what our
fans are like, I have played in front of them. I have managed in
front of them. Against Belgium they saw the players with their sleeves
rolled up trying to play good football, first and foremost,
working hard for the jersey. They forgive you if you don't get the
result. If you don't turn up or try hard, that's the basic, really, put
yourself on the line. Less than 12 months ago, Wales won
their third game in four matches under Gary Speed. To stop another
campaign falling to ruin, they need to rediscover their air of
optimisim and hope, that winning feeling. I can't afford to look
further than the next one. Especially at this time, you have
to concentrate on the next result and performance. One game, one good
result, all of a sudden you have turned a corner.
Mr Roberts, former Wales international, home dressing room
ahead of the game. Positive noises coming from the Wales camp?
delighted to hear all the positiveness coming from the camp.
I think our campaign starts tomorrow night. I think it's a game
we have to go into. We have to win, we know that. I don't think even a
point is good enough for you. It's probably the lowest a lot of people
have felt of after the Serbia game. We weren't good enough, poor, poor
errors, individual mistakes. It doesn't matter how good a manager
you are, if you can prepare a team as well as you can, but you can't
legislate for the mistakes that we did, and cost us that night.
Chris Coleman, has made a clear stamp on things, let's start with
the change of captaincy. What do you make of that? We have lost five
games on the spin, we have only scored one goal, something has to
happen. Chris has to change things. I think it will be a slight relief
to Aaron, there was a lot of responsibility and pressure on such
a young man and young shoulders, when he wasn't playing well, having
come back from a horrendous injurey. Hopefully it will free him to find
the form we know he's capable of. Goals, Iwan were are they coming
from? The problem is we don't create enough chances. You are
asking a lot of a centre forward if you are going to create one chance
in 90 minutes and cross your fingers that he takes that chance.
We have to be creating four or five, or six chances for these players in
each game. If we do, that we will score. Will he chose Craig Davies,
are we at that stage, he has nothing to lose, it might be a
gamble, but at this stage? We have nothing to lose, we have to win the
game. Not too many nations qualify for a major tournament, having lost
the opening two games in a campaign. We have to beat the Scots tomorrow.
It is as simple as that. He's a man in form, full of confidence, seven
goals already this season for Barnsley, four against Birmingham
the other week. He wasn't in the other squad, which I was quite
surprised at, to be fair. If I was manager for the game tomorrow night,
I would start with 4-4-2, I would throw Craig Davies on to partner
Steve Morison, he will get you two natural winners, and positive from
the very start. We will talk more shortly.
Rugby, now. The build-up to this year as Heineken Cup has been
dominated by talk of its potential demise. A row over money,
scheduling and TV rights, has threaten to derail Europe's show
piece tournament. For now, we can put admin to one side, and
concentrate on the rugby itself. Ross Harris has been to meet a man,
who has played in more of his fair share of Heineken Cup, and to get
his thoughts on how the Welsh regions might fare this year.
Since Welsh rugby went regional in 2003, Wales have won three Grand
Slams, but the Heineken Cup, club rugby's Holy Grail, has never been
lifted by a Welsh side. In its 17- year history, it has been won six
times by the English, six by the Irish, and five times by the French.
If the bookies have things right, that trend is set to continue.
Lenister have been installed at pre-tournament fairts, followed
closely by Toulouse, to you lon and others. The future is looking
precarious, the English and French clubs aren't happy with the way it
is run and are threatening to pull out by 2014. Despite money and
scheduling issues, they are made fight tooth and nail to qualify,
while the pro--12 sides have an easy ride in.
Stephen Jones has played in all three European domestic leison. Now
he's in the English Premiership with Wasps. Do the pro--12 sides
have it easier for qualification? don't think so, we must have a
European competition. From a players' perspective that is the
best competition to be involved in. The standard of rugby is top drawer.
You know, it is exciting for the players. The pro--12 is is a very
strong league, we can see it by past winners. The standard of rugby
played in the pro-12 is of the highest order. I think we should
continue with the competition along the lines in which it is run at the
moment. Stephen's old team, the Scarlets, find themselves in a pool
of debt, alongside Exeter and Lenister. They kick off against the
French team. They will be looking forward to it. The Scarlets have
backed themselves, rightly so, when they have wonderful talent like
they have. They won't change their game plan, they look to be
expansive, ar get the ball through their hands -- and get the ball
through their hands. They look forward to that challenge. Even
though you spent two seasons in France, I bet there is only one
team you are gunning from? interested and intrigued in the
game. Of course emotions are attached to both side, having spent
the majority of my rugby-playing cor around the Scarlets, I want
Leicester and Toulouse await in pool 2, but they start at home
against Treviso, a team they have lost to already this season the
played them in a pre-season game, we played them with the Carl lets,
very physical, good driving mob, direct behind. Their game plan is
relatively simplistic. Where you have to feel happy if our an
Ospreys fan, is the last three games they have been superb. They
were successful down in Munster. They backed it up with another good
win last week. They are peaking at the right time. Steve Tandy must be
very happy. In group six, the Blues mind themselves against month pelia
and Toulon. They relish the battle up front.
First up they face Sale, a team in crisis and rooted in the
Premiership. I know some of the players there, and they will be
chomping at the bit and excited for the competition. They got to Sale
and will back themselves and their own ability. They will be confident
of victory up there. Looking particularly at Toulon and the
problems in the Blue's scrumage, they can afford to leave Gethin
Jenkins on the bench. They are recruiting world class players all
the time. Across their pack, the looseheads, you have Gethin Jenkins
and Sheridan. They are spoilt for choice. With that you can rotate
and keep people refreshed and healthy. That is massive advantage.
Stephen as current side, Wasps, have twice lifted the Heineken Cup.
In recent years they have tumbled down the pecking order and are now
in the Challenge Cup. The first opponents is The Dragons?
former Newport player, does that give him some spice? I'm sure Shane
has many fond memories, a side we have a lot of respect for. I know
them well through playing against them with the Scarlet, they are a
well-drilled side. It will be a tough game. Another team in your
group, Bayon, featuring an old Welsh half back. It is always good
to play against Mike, a physical game, it is enjoyable when you play
against him. He's a great player. A trip out to Bayon will be nice,
great part of the world to go. It is all good.
Thank you for your time. Good luck on the weekend. Cheers.
The latest meeting over the future of the Heineken Cup ended in
stalemate on Monday. Brinkmanship will continue in the broad room
over the coming months. For -- boardroom for the coming months.
For now, let's focus on the pitch. We will stay with rugby, and no
Welsh team has ever won the Heineken Cup, in fact, the Welsh
coach, Rob Howley, is one of only eight Welshmen to have ever got
their hands on the trophy. The man who scored the winning try for
Wasps, in the 2004 final, will take part of the national side, as
GATTland takes a Saab battle. We shares his thoughts on the biggest
job in Welsh rugby. Wasps, 2004, why did you win the
Heineken Cup? We had a good team, good team spirit, strong foundation,
and probably a side with quite a few world chas players in the pack.
I think that the key aspect was along the way, outclassed in the
final against To Toulouse, a bit of luck at the end. Would it be share
to say, looking at the Welsh regions right now, they are not at
that level of Heineken Cup winners? The experience you need in Europe
you gain the experience by the competition, year in year out. When
you see the regions, they have three new coaches. That takes time
for messages and processes to be put in play. We still have a feel
anything Wales we can still be very competitive in Europe. I think on
their day, when you look at the scarlet, all when they are allowed
to play rugby and get their offloading game, they have a huge
amount of talent in their squad. When you look at the Welsh regions
now, how important personally is Heineken Cup success or
competitiveness? It is very important. I think the Heineken Cup
is where players are tested, both physically, and the pressure. And
making decisions. And actually making those opportunities count.
That is what you have to do in international rugby. The speed of
the game is quicker, ultimately your decision making has to be
better. Obviouslys that is the challenge of a player or team when
you play in the Heineken Cup. It is a step up. The step up faces Howley
too, as he takes over from Warren Gatland, for the opening
international of what will be an often gruelling series. First up
the grunt of Argentina, then the shout of Samoa, before returning to
face the top two sides in the world, New Zealand and Australia. Who pick
the squad considering your in charge of the first two games and
then Gatland comes back in. Who has the final shout? The one thing
about Warren over the last four or five years, he's been a natural
part of selection. Who has impressed you? Jordan Williams, and
Lee Williams, they have been pretty impressive.
They are the sort of players that have stood out. Andy Phenby. And
Dan Bigger has stepped up in terms of his running game, he has asked
questions about the defence. We know about his kicking game. The
next four or five weeks it is about winning. On December 3rd at 3.3030
there will be a Rugby World Cup tour. Ale goal of every nation will
be in to be the top four. Do you know the maths? I think it
goes back to beating a southern Hemisphere team. We play Australia
number two and New Zealand number one. We are determined that
Argentina and Samoa, we have had experiences in Rugby World Cup, we
have played them before, a couple of others, argen tone that, their
experiences in the rugby championship, has been pretty
impressive, week in week out. We have four tough games in the autumn.
Obviously everyone will be keeping an eye on the ranking. It is the
job of the players and coaches and everyone to be in the top four to
give us an easier draw. Back to the big game, Scotland have
only lost once in six World Cup qualifying campaigns. After
disappointing back-to-back draws in their opening games. They will look
to improve the record, and take maximum points off bottom of the
table Wales. Like Wales, there was much
optimisim in Scotland before they started their campaign for World
Cup qualification in Rio 2014. After home draws against Serbia and
Macedonia, that optimisim has been replayed by disappointment.
The Scotland manager, Craig Levein, like Chris Coleman, is under
pressure, despite an undefeated start, and securing two points more
than Wales. The stakes, then, couldn't be higher ahead of
Friday's game. Two home draws is not what the doctor ordered for
Scotland. The chance to redeem ourselves, and get back on track, a
victory in Wales. We can't think too far ahead, the
group we are in. We need to concentrate on the next game. That
is Wales. If we win that, will give us five points. I'm looking forward
to the game, riot from the moment the draw was made. There is little
bits exciting as you can imagine. As opposed to a normal qualifying
match. The Scottish squad has been boosted this week, with the return
of the two Fletchers, Manchester United's Darren Fletcher, who has
been out of the game through illness for Tennant months. And
Sunderland's leading scorer, Stephen Fletcher, who has not been
around after making himself not available for selection last year,
after a falling out with his manager.
A goal scorer is worth his weight in gold. Stephen Fletcher is a goal
scorer, it is great he has resolved the situation with the manager or
the manager with him, they have made up and he's back in the squad.
Dan flech certificate quality player, he has played many times
and many international, and European matches. One thing we can
look forward to on Friday night a good old British derby, with
Scotland ready for whatever Wales will throw at them. Sometimes it is
a different type of football. When you are playing Spain you know you
will get a short pass, and keeping ball position and all those things.
Wales have a couple of big strikers who could knock them from back to
front and play through the mid-of the talent. Aaron Ramsey and these
lads here. Both sets of players knows and has played against each
other, it will be a tough match, but we are looking forward to it.
Scotland has seasoned enforcers in the squad, and Gareth Bale could be
in for the type of attention that he has received from Charlie Adam
in the Premier League. I wouldn't single out and say Bale will win
the game for him. If we could stoch him it would enhance per-- stop him
and enhance performance and better the Khans of taking the game.
person who knows about Scottish misfortunes, is Neil Lennon, who
could have five players in the match? James Forest is an
exceptional player, very quick, old school winner, both feet. He could
really hurt Wales, he is one to watch. Charlie is the current
Scotland Player of the Year, a great example to any player out
there. Scott Brown, leader, inspirational player, reads the
game well, covers the ground. He's at the heart of everything good
about us at the moment. There was supposed to be two Welsh players,
but an ankle injury today, ruled out the fullback Adam Matthews,
leaving Joe Ledley to fly the flag. Joe has been one of the best
players, consistent and a midfield player. With Wales hurting after
the 6-1 defeat in Serbia. Scotland will be targeting all three points
tomorrow. I'm desperate to win the game. It is a big game for us, as a
group of players, and as a country. We want to win it, and hopefully we
can. With the talent like Beale and the Ledleys, you know the Matthewss,
the Ashley Williams, they have a good span of team there. There is
no reason why they can't. I think they will give Scotland all the
trouble that Scotland will be looking for. Can't see Wales
beating Scotland, I'm sorry to say at that to Chris. But I think
Scotland have too many better players than Wales, and usually the
better players win football matches. The danger for us is that we always
get some sort of response from that. Are you worried about that?
worrieded about a lot of things. A deem that has a poor result
generally when they come out for the next match. With pure
determination to go on through. The toings increases through the
fixture. -- the tension increases through the fixture. We are all
under pressure, it is a different job to club football.
Sometimes if you have a poor result, that you have to wait a period of
time to fix it, which makes it quite difficult.
Iwan, former Scotland manager, Jason Brown, he fancies Scotland to
win this one. He says they are better than Wales, what do you make
of that? I totally disagree. I back on the game, we played them in 2009,
we beat Scotland by 3-0. We are having a bad time, so are they.
They have only won once in the last five games, that is a friendly
against Australia back in August. We have a better squad of players.
I think we have better players in the Welsh squad.
Have you thought about what happens if Wales lose, is that it for
Chris? I think the players, deep down they know, first of all they
let themselves down against Serbia. They let the fans down. And they
let Chris down, they will be determined to put things right, and
owe people a performance. I'm sure we will get one. Predictions?
win. Thank you very much. That's it for this evening, there will be
highlights of Wales against Scotland on Match of the Day Wales
at 11.00pm tomorrow night on BBC Two Wales. Before I go, do you know
anyone who deserves to be our BBC Waleser Wales sports unsung hero of
the year, they have to be un-- BBC Wales, unsung hero of the year.