Warren Gatland admits Ireland game was on Wales players' minds during Scotland clash
Last Updated: 10/03/19 11:14am
Warren Gatland admitted Wales took their eye off the ball against Scotland as they were made to survive a Murrayfield scare to keep their Grand Slam charge on track.
The unbeaten tournament leaders will complete their first clean sweep since 2012 if they can beat Ireland in Cardiff next Saturday, but they had to ride their luck in Edinburgh as Scotland mounted a second-half fightback.
Tries from Josh Adams and centre Jonathan Davies helped Wales to a 15-6 half-time lead but the wheels threatened to come off after the break.
Darcy Graham's score set up a blockbuster finish but Wales hung on for an 18-11 victory that leaves Gatland on the verge of becoming the first coach to win three Grand Slams.
But the Kiwi confessed his side were guilty of eyeing up their decisive showdown with Ireland during the second half against Scotland.
"We were pretty comfortable during the first half but in fairness Scotland came out and put us under a lot of pressure in the second," said Gatland.
"We've lost the second half 5-3 but we've shown some real character. There were a couple of moments towards the end when Scotland were attacking but we drove them back.
"Any team that's won a Grand Slam - and I think back even to last year with Ireland and that Johnny Sexton drop goal - you look back at certain games and know you've had a little bit of luck.
"Maybe from a coaching perspective we needed to be a bit tougher at half-time. We talked at the break about being pretty comfortable and going out to deliver a second-half (performance). As a result, maybe we were thinking about next week and that Irish game."
The build-up to the clash was dominated by domestic rugby politics in Wales, with a proposed merger between Scarlets and Ospreys being taken off the table.
Gatland admitted the debate had affected his team but praised them for shaking off the uncertainty to claim victory.
He said: "This is a fantastic group of men that are pretty tight. There's no doubt this week has had an impact on the players.
"In fairness to them, after the early part of the week, they have got on with the job. There's obviously a lot of emotion involved with everybody, so I take my hat off to them for digging deep.
"We've spoken about forgetting how to lose and these guys are finding ways to win. I'm not sure in the past we'd have had the mental strength to keep Scotland out but these guys are finding ways to do that and that's what good teams do."