Welsh prop Samson Lee has vowed Wales will fix their ailing scrum for Friday morning’s vital Rugby World Cup clash with Fiji after it was put through the mincer by England.
The prop forward came off the bench during the second half of the gutsy backs-to-the-wall 28-25 victory at Twickenham in Pool A.
But he admitted Warren Gatland’s team have to improve their scrummaging if they are to increase their chances of reaching the knock-out stage.
There were just nine scrums against England with Wales being penalised at four of them. Loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins was pinged twice in the first-half with tight-head Tomas Francis and Lee being whistled once apiece by French referee Jerome Graces.
Lee said: “It was a tough day at the office. We always knew they were going to be a difficult pack to go up against. We have to sort out whatever we need to get right and then take it into the Fiji match.”
And the 22-year-old was adamant: “The problems are 100% fixable.”
Asked why they had been steam-rollered by England, he explained: “We lost most of the hits in the scrum and ended up soaking up the hits, so this week we have to get our speed right going into the scrum. It was just the speed on the engagement.
“The the only thing we can do is get our speed right, so we’ll practise hitting the machines. We haven’t done any scrum work since the England game but, as the week goes on, we’ll get into it.
“No one’s going to be happy with Wales coming second in the set-piece. So we’ll get it right this week and get our speed back.
“We all like to have an input, all the front-row. We discussed it in the changing room after the game. It was down to our mistakes.”
Fiji did better against England in the scrum and Wales and edged the shoving contest against Australia,
“They’ve improved over the years, so this game will be really tough. We need to have a better day at the office in the set-piece,” Lee went on.
“It’s going to be an important part of our game. If we get that right we are capable of taking anyone on.”
And he warned: “Last weekend won’t mean anything if we don’t get a result this week. We will train hard and hopefully get a win against Fiji.”
He praised the contribution of Wales new boy Francis, saying: “Tom has done really well since coming in.
“With Aaron Jarvis, Gethin Jenkins and Paul James, there’s just a lot of competition going on.”
Facing England was only Lee’s second outing since rupturing an Achilles tendon against Ireland last March.
“My first game was Uruguay and last week I felt much better around the park. Every match I play I will feel better in terms of my fitness. I feel pretty good at the moment,” he said.