IT has been a week of celebration in Wales, a win over England kicking things off and keeping Welsh hopes, dreams and ambitions of a Six Nations title, a Grand Slam and Triple crown very much alive, while Friday was St David’s Day.

One of those occasions is set in the calendar. The other could be a once-in-a-career moment for some of those who don that famous red shirt.

March 1st may bring a country together once a year. But nothing quite bonds the Welsh nation like success on the rugby field, especially when it was unexpected.

And that is entirely how the majority of Welshmen, among them former international scrum-half Richie Rees, see this year’s championship as Wales find themselves having won three Six Nations matches with two yet to play.

“It’s a great position to be in and, while no-one wants to assume anything or get too far ahead of themselves, to be honest from now it’s ours to lose,” says the Scrum V and Premier Sports summariser. "But I don’t think we will ... Scotland next week, who the pressure is on, then Ireland the following week in Cardiff.

"You’d take that run-in all day long."

“Did anyone see this coming? Not really,” Rees admits.

“Going into the tournament I don’t think there were many seeing Wales as a possible Grand Slam side.

"Yes, they’d had a very good record in terms of successive wins leading up to the tournament, which subsequently has been extended into a record-breaking 12-game winning run – and, with a bit of luck, they haven’t finished yet.

“But when we picked up that first victory over France on the opening night, having been 16-0 down at half-time, to then carve out a win in Paris – coming back from a record deficit – a few sat up and took notice.

"With Ireland losing to England, immediately, you become contenders,” a belief cultivated by results and an inner strength says Rees.

“Against Italy, we made 10 changes to the team and still won, now beating England has put us right in the frame – and all of that is against a backdrop of everything that is going on in the Welsh professional game, in the regions.

“Where that set-up does work, however, is in the pyramid, driving all the best talent upwards to such an extent that now, in the professional era, our strength in depth is probably the best it has ever been, with a squad of 30-plus players all of international standard.

"Outside that core group we might struggle. But, because we are working within those numbers and have the majority of them fit, well in form and bouncing after the team performances, then we have a very strong team and bench.

“I don’t think you can ever plan or engineer things to work in a particular fashion, but this is turning out to be one big send-off for Warren Gatland.”

One victory doesn’t win a title, but the euphoria generated by last Saturday’s dramatic success against England has most folk from the valleys believing, after not just outscoring Eddie Jones’ men, but by outplaying and out-thinking them as well.

“If anything, we probably out-England England, so to speak,” Richie explains

“We made it very hard and very physical up front, and kept our set-piece steady; solid in the scrum, accurate in the line-out, not giving away any cheap possession. We also out-carried England and were far more clinical and precise attacking them, as was shown with the score that tipped the game back in our favour.

“I can’t recall many matches with that level of intensity late on, when we really were on our last chance to get back in the game.

"It was absolutely ridiculous from the Welsh forwards, going through 34 phases, keeping the ball alive through collision after collision, for nearly four minutes, when any kind of slip would have probably meant game over. And to stay patient, and not go too soon, and to ultimately work that angle for Cory Hill to attack on, was just beautiful.

“But Cory paid the price during the game by injuring his ankle and is now out of the remaining matches ... just another example of the attrition rates during this championship.”

While we have still to find out the respective starting XVs, Rees says any speculation in Welsh quarters pales compared to the debate facing Scotland coach Gregor Townsend.

“From a Wales perspective, we have to go to Murrayfield super confident.

"It would be stupid to be anything but after beating England. It’s one of those stadiums that every Welsh player loves going to these days, whether they are playing Edinburgh in the PRO14, or in a full test match in the Six Nations,” says the one-time Edinburgh scrum-half.

“You have an absolutely magnificent surface to play on, and a full house with a really unbelievable atmosphere. We know what Scotland are like and, for me, the most interesting thing will be around the Scotland selection.”

Rees continued: “There will be a debate in terms of Wales. Will they go with Gareth Anscombe again as the starting 10, backed up by Dan Biggar, who actually proved to be the match-winner last week when he came on, or whether they switch roles?

“However, that’s nothing compared to the speculation about what Gregor Townsend may do, given what happened in Paris and because Scotland really need a performance and a result.

"That’s what really interests me. Will they select a team to try to nullify Wales, or will they do their own thing and play to their strengths?

"Does Greig Laidlaw stay in there, will Gregor shift (Pete) Horne back to centre, might he recall Adam Hastings at stand-off? All of which is entirely dependent on whether Finn Russell gets a clean bill of health or not.

“Whatever game plan Townsend goes with, part of it will have to be around stopping the Welsh back three doing what they did so well against England.

"I don’t think England kicked particularly well. I think they were predictable and never got distance or direction. But whatever they put in the air or deep, Wales fielded brilliantly and Liam Williams at full-back was immense, particularly under the high ball when he caught cleanly time and again, then returned the ball well to take away any yardage England had gained.”

Rees, the Cardiff Blues transition coach who is currently assisting coach Richie Pugh with the Wales squad in Las Vegas on the World Sevens tour, says the Scots may have some insider information already on how to match up against Wales, through ex-Dragons and Scarlets forward coach and former Cardiff head coach Danny Wilson, now Scotland’s forwards coach.

“I met Danny a few weeks back and had a chat but of course that was before the Six Nations took shape.

"He probably knows the Welsh set-up as well as anyone, having come through the Welsh coaching pathway, so Scotland will be able to tap into his experience and I’m sure he might have one or two tricks up his sleeve for this one.

"He prides himself on the set-piece, so let’s wait and see what happens there.”