Six Nations 2013: Wales have secured title shot 'the hard way' says Ian Evans
The defending champions host England on Saturday
Monday 11 March 2013
Ian Evans believes Wales have “done it the hard way” in terms of keeping alive their RBS 6 Nations title hopes this season.
The defending champions will head into next Saturday's Millennium Stadium showdown against England after recovering brilliantly from an opening weekend home loss to Ireland.
A seven-point victory would be enough for Wales to secure silverware, provided they keep their overall tournament try count higher than England's - Wales currently lead that contest 7-5.
And it all represents a remarkable turnaround, given that Wales trailed Ireland 30-3 at one stage five weeks ago. But since then, they have recorded three successive away wins and not conceded a try.
"I think we've done it the hard way," Wales lock Evans said.
"I just hope our first game doesn't come back and bite us on the backside, really.
"We've rescued the situation, got control back and it leads up to the last game now in the Millennium Stadium.
"We've rolled our sleeves up, and it has all been about coming away with the wins. It is not about how pretty it looks, it has been about being dominant and getting the win.
"I think in the first game against Ireland we let ourselves down in the first half. We should have won that game, from my point of view. It was too late to catch up in the second half.
"But we've had three massive wins since then. When people start writing you off, Welsh players tend to stand up and be counted, from what I can see."
Wales did not escape injury-free from their 28-18 win against Scotland at Murrayfield, with skipper Ryan Jones suffering a shoulder problem that forced him off during the second half.
He arrived back at Cardiff Wales Airport yesterday with his right arm in a sling and together with prop Gethin Jenkins, who missed the Scotland game due to a calf muscle injury suffered in Rome last month, will be assessed by Wales' medical staff.
If the Ospreys talisman is forced out, though, Wales have a ready-made leader in Sam Warburton, last season's Grand Slam captain who delivered his best performance of the season against Scotland.
"Ryan has taken a contact to the shoulder and he will be assessed. We will take judgment from there," Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley said.
Howley and his opposite number Stuart Lancaster are due to announce their starting XVs next Thursday, highlighting an intense build-up towards an annual fixture always accompanied by feverish hype, even if there is little resting on the outcome.
"It is what everyone wanted," Evans said.
"It's the golden ticket for those people who will be there next Saturday. It's like the Willy Wonka bar."
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