Six Nations 2015: Wales will go into World Cup on high, says Webb

Rhys Webb considers Wales will go into the Rugby World Cup on a high after completing the RBS 6 Nations firmly with four wins from five.

The Ospreys scrum half was an instrumental figure in the 2nd half of Wales’ record 61-20 triumph over Italy in Rome on Saturday afternoon.

While it was not enough for Wales to procure the title, it was a brilliant second half performance at the Stadio Olimpico as Wales ran in 47 points as they chased a third title in four years.

Warren Gatland’s guys have still been left to rue their opening round defeat to England in Cardiff that came from a poor second half performance, however they rallied nicely to win their next four, including an impressive Grand Slam-bursting win over champs Ireland last month.

And Webb insists that Wales will take plenty of positives going in their World Cup training camps.

“We’ve grown match to match, and we’ve revealed our assaulting skill and what we can do,” Webb said.

“We’re kicking ourselves a little bit for this second half against England, but you can not dwell on it, and we’ve completed the contest on a high.

“We’re in a great location, and we’ll take plenty of positives from our operation in Italy.

“We will work hard in the training camps in the summertime, and proceed to the World Cup on a high.”

Wales led 14-13 at the break by means of a Jamie Roberts try, two penalties from Leigh Halfpenny and a third from Dan Biggar as they ran in seven tries before turning on the fashion in the 2nd half.

Northampton Saints winger George North became the first Welsh player to score a tournament hat trick as he crossed the line three times in 11 minutes.

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Six Nations 2015: Small margins holding Scotland back, says Russell

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Finn Russell insists that Scotland are improving despite an RBS 6 Nations campaign that finished using a whitewash that is woeful as they lost 40-10 defeat to champions Ireland in Edinburgh.

Scotland isn’t an all too distant memory. It was just three years back eight months afterwards, when it occurred with former head coach Andy Robinson leaving his job the day after a shock defeat to Tonga.

After a far from productive transition interval with Scott Johnson Robinson’s ultimate replacement, as interim head coach Vern Cotter started the brand new age using a trio of triumphs in impressive style over the united states, Canada and Argentina.

That was backed up by tryscoring fests against Tonga and Argentina in November, and an unlikely performance that found the Dark Blues shove against the All Blacks all the way before losing.

Scotland’s losing record in the Six Nations now stretches to seven straight matches and there is going to be lots of head scratching in Scotland’s rugby heartlands and questions over whether Cotter is cut out for international rugby, despite his record at Bay of Plenty and Top 14 team Clermont Auvergne.

But Glasgow Warriors exterior-half Russell maintains that there are positives to take from the effort.

“For us as a team right now, it is about building on the bright minutes we’ve revealed over these last five matches,” Russell said.

“Losing five matches is not the greatest Six Nations but, on the other side for us, there have been lots of positives, and lots of great rugby we can look back at.

Laureus Awards 2015: Navratilova on ‘diligent’ Djokovic and Federer ‘GOAT’ debate

Laureus award

Martina Navratilova, among the very successful girls ever to pick up a tennis racket–18 singles, 31 doubles and 10 mixed doubles Grand Slam titles for a beginning–was keeping mum about where she’d put her votes for the ‘Oscars’ of sport, the Laureus World Sports Awards.

But hearing her talk to Laureus.com before this month relating to this year’s clutch of tennis nominees, it absolutely was worth a wild speculation.

Navratilova is an associate of the Laureus Academy–a select group in athletic record books representing the elite –that votes for the excellent performers of the past year and, in regards to tennis, there have been plenty to choose from on the shortlists.

She talked about the girl who has lately overtaken Serena Williams, her own 18 Majors. The 33-year old American star, who has topped the ranks for an unbroken couple of years, is nominated for a record-equalling fourth Laureus Award (Roger Federer is the sole other four-time victor). Williams has won the Sportswoman of the Year statuette as well as the Recovery Award.

Navratilova started by speaking of Williams’ chances of overtaking Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 Grand Slam singles triumphs.

“Serena’s really moved, she is healthy as well as the opposition has not been able to catch up to her. It is a tall mountain to climb, but it is potential, if she remains healthy.

“She managed to be No1 at the end of the year and most of all winning the Australian Open, where she passed Chris [Evert] and myself. Last year perhaps much less great a year as other years, but marching towards history, that is a rather big deal.”

Her focus subsequently turned to the guys’s No1 Novak Djokovic, nominated in the Sportsman of the Year class, which he won in 2012.

“Even though he did not play his best tennis at Wimbledon in the final, he still managed to win it against Federer. Only his work ethic, diligence, his readiness to keep working on his game and keep getting, his preparation is amazing. He deserves that he completed No1.”

Another Laureus Academy member, Boris Becker coachs Djokovic, and Navratilova considers the tie in has paid dividends.

“Of course with Boris’s expertise as a Grand Slam winner, you can not place a price tag on that. At that high degree, there are such little specific allowances between winning and losing.”

The Swiss Davis Cup team, headed by Stan and Federer Wawrinka, are nominated in two groups for reaching Switzerland’s first success in the ‘World Cup’ of tennis: Laureus Team of the Year and Breakthrough of the Year.

And Navratilova had nothing but compliments for Wawrinka in particular: “To be No2 to Roger–where clearly if they do not win the Davis Cup, it’ll be Stan’s mistake, not Roger’s–gets lots of pressure on Stan, but he came through wonderfully.

“It was all set up by Stan winning the [2014] Australian Open. That gave him assurance for the remainder of his profession to understand that when things are going his way, anything can happen, and I think because he’d to be this nervous, it pulled him through in the Davis Cup, also. I am aware I’d have been in that scenario.