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In 2024, Warren Gatland is determined for Wales to secure a victory while Scotland aims to maintain their focus.
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In 2024, Warren Gatland is determined for Wales to secure a victory while Scotland aims to maintain their focus.

Warren Gatland emphasized Wales’s eagerness to break their losing streak in the Six Nations this year and secure a significant win against France.

Despite not living up to their performance level from last year, Les Bleus have managed to defeat Wales four consecutive times in the Six Nations. While they have shown potential in losses to Scotland, England, and Ireland, Wales’s new lineup has yet to secure a win in their first three matches, leading up to their upcoming game on Sunday at the Principality Stadium.

Since 2003, they have not lost every game in a Six Nations campaign. The next opponent, Italy, beat Wales in Cardiff two years ago.

“The ultimate goal in Test match rugby is to emerge victorious,” stated Wales’ head coach, Gatland. “We have a strong desire to win and believe that we have been performing decently. Our aim is to deliver a flawless performance and we understand that this is a process, but we are striving to accelerate our progress. A win on Sunday would be a significant milestone in achieving that goal.”

Emmanuel Meafou is among three new players to be chosen for the France team. On Friday, Fabien Galthié announced eight changes to the team. Meafou, a 25-year-old lock, will replace Posolo Tuilagi, who is unable to play due to illness. Additionally, Léo Barré will make his debut as full-back, causing Thomas Ramos to take over the fly-half position in place of the injured Matthieu Jalibert.

The centre Nicolas Depoortère is another debutant as he fills in for the suspended Jonathan Danty, who was sent off in the 13-13 draw with Italy. Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Grégory Alldritt both return from injury after missing the game with Italy, and Nolann Le Garrec is preferred at scrum-half with Maxime Lucu dropping to the bench.

Julien Marchand is selected over Peato Mauvaka as he is named on the bench, and Thibaud Flament replaces Cameron Woki, who has been left out of the squad for the game.

Darge from Scotland is prioritizing attaining points over breaking records.

Rory Darge believes that the Stadio Olimpico in Italy would be a suitable location for Duhan van der Merwe to become Scotland’s highest try scorer, but as the co-captain, he emphasized that the team’s main goal is to secure another Six Nations win in Rome.

Gregor Townsend’s team’s main objective is to secure enough points to maintain their potential to finish in the top two of the Six Nations era. However, this upcoming match holds additional interest as Van der Merwe has scored 26 international tries, just one less than Stuart Hogg, the current record-holder for the country.

Back-rower Darge praised the exceptional finishing skills of his teammate, acknowledging that even the slightest opportunity could lead to a scoring chance. Darge believes his teammate has the potential to break a record, which would be a great achievement. However, he doubts that the record is the main focus for his teammate, as they will most likely be focused on their role in the game. He added that Italy will provide a tough challenge for their team.

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Michele Lamaro thinks that Italy is improving, but he is not getting too excited about their strong performance against France in their last match until they consistently show that they can maintain it.

The Azzurri’s spirits were lifted by their tie against Les Bleus in Lille two weeks ago, and they were close to achieving a monumental win if Paolo Garbisi’s last-minute penalty had not hit the post.

Duhan van der Merwe leaps for a high ball in training.

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The captain of Italy’s team, Lamaro, has had many disappointments in the past, so he is being careful despite the increased excitement surrounding the 70,000 tickets that have been sold for the match at Stadio Olimpico.

“We were able to secure a draw in France, but just the week before we were defeated by Ireland with a score of 36-0,” he explained. “The common belief is that our performance can fluctuate drastically from one week to the next. However, this misconception does not accurately reflect the truth. Like any team, we will experience both triumphs and setbacks, but I am confident that we are making progress in the right direction.”

Source: theguardian.com