Barclay 'speechless' after Scotland horror show
REACTION: John Barclay was rendered “speechless” by Scotland’s error-strewn display as they began their 2018 Six Nations campaign with a 34-7 hammering at the hands of Wales.
Warren Gatland’s side came into Saturday’s tournament opener in Cardiff battling a host of injuries but they made light of missing a number of key personnel by running in four tries at the Principality Stadium.
Scotland, suffering from a handful of fitness concerns of their own, had been tipped by some as dark horses for the championship but on this evidence Gregor Townsend’s men are a long way from contenders.
Leigh Halfpenny’s brace – his first international tries in five years – were sandwiched between scores for Gareth Davies and Steff Evans, with Peter Horne’s effort a minute from time scant consolation for Scotland, whose captain pulled no punches in his post-match analysis.
“I’m a bit speechless. A lot of errors,” a crestfallen Barclay told BBC Sport. “In the autumn we played with a lot of accuracy and tempo, today we played with tempo but no accuracy and that’s the end result.
“We’ll have a look. There were individual errors, we missed too many tackles, our line-out didn’t function and when we had the ball we gave it away too easily so that’s a pretty good recipe to lose a Test match.
“It’s hard to find positives. I’m sure there will be some but Wales were superb today and well done to them but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Barclay’s opposite number Alun Wyn Jones, meanwhile, was understandably delighted as his side shrugged off the absences of the likes of Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau and Jonathan Davies.
“I’m a bit tired to be honest with you!” he said. “Credit to Scotland, that was a performance borne out of respect for them.
“A lot has been said about injuries on both sides, we had to deal with the people on the park. Obviously, we’re very pleased to start like that but there’s a long campaign ahead.
“There were opportunities [for fringe players to step up] on both sides, I’m particularly pleased our guys took their opportunities today. Credit to the squad and the way they played today.”
Elsewhere Eddie Jones went through his selection choices ahead of England Six Nations opener with Italy.