I think it is fair to say that the RBS 6 Nations game between Wales and Scotland was a fairly mediocre affair, but the Welsh performance in the 30-22 defeat was very disappointing again. The start of the match could hardly have been worse and I did not expect Scotland to overrun the Welsh early on.
Wales lost every one of their first four line-outs and you cannot afford to do that at this level of modern international rugby. In the past, if your backs were good enough, you could get away with surviving on scraps of possession, but not any more. Scott Murray played well, which made things difficult, but overall there was no pattern to the Welsh game. I thought Simon Taylor was immense for the Scots and again showed what a wonderful talent he is, but Ian McGeechan must have had a smile as wide as the Firth of Forth after Chris Paterson's display. For a part-time kicker to kick every attempt on goal is just amazing.
Wales did battle back in the second half and to be fair they had their chances. Again they were let down by the inability to make the most of them. By the end of the game I really didn't feel there were too many players who could hold their hands up and claim to have played well. Kevin Morgan, though, was certainly one who could and I am extremely sorry about his knee injury. It is a blow for him and a blow for Wales.
We desperately need a ball carrier, a robust, aggressive forward who can get over the gain line. Against the Scots, we had plenty of phases of possession but we rarely made any ground, and we need players who can build momentum. I felt that too many of our forwards were hanging off among the backs when they needed to be at the breakdown and doing what they are there to do.
Steve Hansen has chopped and changed his side a lot during this tournament, though to be fair many changes have been enforced by injuries or loss of form, but it does worry me. However, the return of Jonathan Humphreys will add steel to the front row and you must have that against Ireland. They are so competitive up front and have a backline that will kill you if they get enough ball. The Irish back row is also playing some scintillating stuff at the moment.
It's a long time since Ireland lost in Wales and I don't think that will change this weekend. I'm always hopeful about Wales but I think I'm probably resigned to the Wooden Spoon. There is plenty of young talent in the Welsh squad - what concerns me is the damage being done to them by these losses. A losing habit is so difficult to get out of.
We are not certain to finish bottom and I am ever hopeful especially since Wales have done well in Paris in recent years. But it really is going to take a massive effort now.