Six Nations 2022 – Wales shakes off Covid impact rustiness Ryan Elias

Ryan Elias, Hooker, has admitted that some Wales players were not well-prepared for the Six Nations.

Elias was the inspirational man-of-the match as Wales overcame its opening defeat to Ireland and beat Scotland 20-17 at Cardiff.

Covid-19 was a game that had left Scarlets players without games.

Elias admitted that “a few of us were missing game time when we came into the competition.”

United Rugby Championship (URC), Scarlets and Cardiff's league trips to South Africa at the end last year were interrupted by Covid-19. Both sides had to quarantine in hotels for at least 10 nights.

Due to the pandemic, most Welsh derbies at Christmas were also delayed.

Elias (27), was one of Wales' top lights in the fall series, having started all four matches. However, he didn't play any games for five weeks after the end of the international campaign.

Elias said, “I thought I did alright in the autumn, and wanted to keep going from there.”

“I wanted to continue that run and build momentum.

“I went back into club rugby and with Covid and getting stuck South Africa, we ended-up having a bunch of games called off which wasn't ideal.”

After losing the physical battle against Ireland Elias and his front-five from Wales were criticised, but the starting quint decided to take on Scotland with Will Rowlands, Adam Beard and outstanding performances.

Elias added, “We weren't at races in many areas when we watched that game last week.”

“We talked about it, and hopefully we put many things right.

“We took a hard look at ourselves after the match with Ireland, and there were no more disappointed than the players.

Ryan Elias prepares to throw in to a Wales line-out
Ryan Elias participated in his 25th international match against Scotland

“We didn’t fire any shots, and physically, we weren’t there.”

“There were a lot of areas that we wanted to improve on, and one of those was physicality.

“For us forwards it was a matter of wanting to get involved in them.

“We knew this was going to be a difficult game. Scotland are a physical opponent and present a different kind of threat than Ireland.

“Set-piece wise, I thought the scrum was and outplayed the lineout. We entered our maul game and tried to play over them. This helped us win.

This allowed captain Dan Biggar, who was suffering from a knee injury, to claim the win by scoring a late drop goal as part of a 15 point haul.

Elias added, “He took a knock at the doors and I thought the ways he was rolling about suggested he could have been going off.”

It's a testimony to the man and player he truly is. He is so resilient and played a great game.”

Elias is aware that Wales must at least maintain their physical performance against England at Twickenham 26 February.

Elias said, “We have to build on the things we've done here.”

“More than the English and hopefully go up a gear against them because it's an old Test match up in Twickenham.

“They are a formidable pack, so it is obvious that we must try to get up to a higher gear.”

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