ALI PRICE gave a knowing smile when the inevitable question about returning to Wales this Saturday and lining up again against Gareth Davies was raised at yesterday’s press briefing. Not because the Glasgow Warriors scrum-half is in any way flippant about his role in Scotland’s ugly demise at the Principality Stadium at the start of this year’s Six Nations campaign, but because he knows that agonising over the whole sorry episode will not do him any good. He doesn’t own a time machine so all he can do is make sure he learns from the experience.
“Yes, I am looking forward to it. After the Italy game, I got 10 days off – a bit of time away from training and rugby – and came back in on Monday really looking forward to getting back out there and throwing the ball around again. It is good to have the full squad back in training, I am excited,” he said.
It was Price’s loose pass which gifted opposite number Davies a 60-yard interception try after just six minutes and set the tone of Scotland’s 34-7 humbling at the start of February, and he gave a wry chuckle when asked if he feels he has a score to settle when the two scrum-halves lock horns when the Warriors take on the Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday afternoon.
“Maybe not passing him the ball would be a good start,” quipped the 24-year-old. “Obviously that game did not go the way I wanted it to but it is in the past, a good couple of months ago. I have played a bit of rugby since then and this is a new game with Glasgow. I am a confident guy and I am looking forward to getting out there. It is a fresh game and I will try to do my best for Glasgow.”
“The Wales game will only make me a better player for the experience and the occasion. I am not dwelling on that, it is in the past. I am looking forward to the big club games coming up and finishing the season on a high,” he added.
Keeping an eye on the big picture
There could be as many as 12 Wales players from that Six Nations match in the Scarlets line-up this weekend, and nine Scotland players in the Warriors line-up, so there is presumably scores to settle right across the park – but the real driving force in this game for the visitors is surely that they are going up against one of the top teams in Europe, knowing that a win will guarantee a top place finish in Conference A of the Guinness PRO14, with three games still to play, which means a home play-off semi-final draw.
“They [the Scarlets] made it into the semi-final of Europe last week. They are a good team, they are full of confidence and playing well. They are reigning champions as well. It would be good to get the win down there and make a bit of a statement. If we can be guaranteed top of the pool with a couple of games to go then that is what we are looking to do,” said Price.
“They are a very good counter-attacking team, so if they get any loose ball they have good runners who will punish us. In terms of the breakdown, we all know their threats over the ball: their back-row is very good. I feel the game will be won and lost around who can get the quickest ruck ball at the breakdown because our back-row are very good over the ball as well. We play similar styles, quite expansive, but I feel the breakdown battle will be key.”
“It is a good chance to challenge yourself against a team that, at the moment, are in the last four in Europe, they are a good side and a good gauge as to where you are at. We have a tough run in, which will be challenging, but if we can get her some momentum going into the play-offs it will put is in good stead.”