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The Scottish Lion who presents a 'massive challenge' to Wales

By PA
Scotland huddle /Getty

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Wales boss Wayne Pivac has described Scotland flanker Hamish Watson as “a fantastic rugby player” ahead of an intriguing back-row battle in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash.

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Watson, last season’s Six Nations player of the tournament and a British and Irish Lion in South Africa, will be part of a Scotland team chasing a first victory in Cardiff since 2002.

And he will encounter a reshaped Wales breakaway trio that includes two openside specialists in Taine Basham and new cap Jac Morgan.

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“It is a massive challenge, isn’t it?” Wales head coach Pivac said.

“Hamish Watson is a fantastic rugby player and has been at the top of his game for a number of years.

“No matter who we have put out over the last couple of years, Watson has been right in the thick of a Scotland-Wales game.

“It will be a big test for young Jac, but one I know he and we are looking forward to.”

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The teams meet following contrasting opening-weekend displays, with Wales soundly beaten by Ireland in Dublin and Scotland jubilant after an impressive Calcutta Cup victory over England.

“Clearly, we weren’t happy with last week and we don’t want to go away having the same conversation two weeks in a row,” Pivac added.

“Each individual player has worked really hard in the week and is prepared to go that extra mile.

“We are going to need the crowd behind us, and it is a big help which lifts the players. We are expecting a better performance, and we will have to wait until Saturday to see if it is big enough.

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“The players are certainly motivated to put that performance behind them. They know they have to work hard, and they have worked hard to improve the areas we need to.

“That is why we haven’t made wholesale changes, because we know a lot of the players – who were by their own admission below their own standards – deserve another opportunity.

Scotland <a href=
South Africa Springboks” width=”1920″ height=”1075″ /> Hamish Watson is tackled by Eben Etzebeth /PA

“I certainly believe there will be more to come from this team. One thing about this group is they are not hiding from anything.

“A lot of it is not rocket science. It is getting our techniques right and making sure we apply ourselves in the game.”

Wales felt that some scrummaging decisions by referee Jaco Peyper did not go their way in Dublin, and Pivac confirmed that clarity was sought from World Rugby.

“If we think there are areas which didn’t go our way, there is a channel we use which is through to Joel Jutge (head of match officials) at World Rugby,” he said.

“We did that on Monday and we had a very, very rapid response. We don’t need to tinker too much with the scrum because we felt we were going very well in that area of the game, but probably didn’t get the decisions we felt we should have.

“We’ve been told to keep going, and we feel we are on the right track there.

“We think a couple of decisions should have gone our way early on in the game. If the response back was different, we would be looking to make some change, but we are not making change, so that probably answers that one.”

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