Warburton: Wales are building confidence
February 27, 2011
Sam Warburton scored his first try for Wales against Italy © PA Photos
Sam Warburton believes that Wales have turned a corner in their Six Nations campaign following the 'doom and gloom' of their opening round defeat to England.
The Cardiff Blues flanker scored his first Test try as Warren Gatland's side made it two wins from two with a hard-fought 24-16 victory over Italy in Rome on Saturday, leaving them in contention prior to a home clash with Ireland on March 12.
"It was looking all doom and gloom after the England game, but two away wins is good," he said. "We go into the Ireland game with a lot of confidence now and it is a home game we must win.
"If we had played in the second-half like we did in the first we could have run away with it. We made the Italian pack work in the first-half. In the second-half the whistle was blown a lot, we got a bit scrappy, it was a bit more set-piece orientated and we didn't play the expansive game we wanted, running their front five around.
"I thought we played into Italian hands a little bit. We didn't really capitalise on our fitness levels over theirs. We could have kept the ball in play a little bit longer. The Italians kept coming hard at us and we had a bit of fortune with their missed kicks."
Warburton's excellent display was again founded on watertight defence but the 22-year-old hailed his try as one of the biggest moments of his career to date.
"My dad told me before the game I was going to get a try," he said. "He had a feeling. I've only scored two tries for the Blues so it still feels a little bit alien scoring to be honest, but it was one of the best moments of my career.
"I just ran an inside line off James and luckily the fullback committed himself to James and it was an easy run-in for me. Happy days. I am not sure how big the grin was on my face on the television, but I was absolutely over the moon. My first thought was to make sure I put the ball down and didn't drop it."
Meanwhile, lock Alun-Wyn Jones believes that Wales can take heart from their performance and that they are building confidence following a long winless run.
"People underestimate the Italians," Wales lock Alun-Wyn Jones said. "They are a big, strong pack and especially at home those first 20 minutes are always confrontational. It is about weathering the storm, which I thought we did well.
"The defence has been pretty good with us. In attack, it's just about being more direct and I am sure we will bring that into the Ireland game. It's not a winning streak by any means, but we are very focused and building blocks towards the end of the Six Nations and then beyond. Sometimes the victories you get in difficult places like Rome can mean as much as a very good home win."
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