SCOTLAND captain Helen Nelson has no doubt that her team is physically and technically capable of beating Wales this afternoon for only the second time in 17 meetings between the two countries stretching back to 2006, but she knows that they need to be mentally stronger than in their recent outings against England (52-10 loss) and Italy (20-41 loss) in order to get a result. 

Both sides are winless so far in this condensed Six Nations campaign and are desperate to avoid the ‘wooden spoon’, however Nelson insists that the team is taking a longer-term view of their situation, with the World Cup qualifiers – expected to be played in the Autumn – the overriding focus.  

“The ability and depth we have in this squad right now is as good as it has ever been,” she said. “The fitness, the understanding and the skill level is excellent, so we 100 percent have the ability to get that win, and it is about tidying up a few things and making them better. 

“Game management and decision making were the things that let us down against Italy so it is about tying that all together and making better decisions under pressure, and if we do that then I have no doubt that we will have a good performance on Saturday. 

“Our defence at times let us down last week,” she added. “We were caught too narrow too often and when Italy turned the ball over we were too slow to react. And in attack when we get our hands on the ball we need to be better at moving the point of contact because have really dangerous backs but we haven’t seen that enough so far. 

“A win would be very good for our confidence and belief because it has been a tough year but, ultimately, our end goal is the World Cup qualifiers so it’s not the be-all and end-all to win this weekend, it is about performance and getting ourselves to the World Cup next year.” 

While Scotland’s record in this Six Nations, it compares favourably to Wales’, who have conceded 98 points in total to France and Ireland without managing to trouble the scoreboard operator themselves. 

“We haven’t talked too much about Wales, to be honest,” Nelson added. “Under their new coach they have only had a couple of games, but you can always expect Wales to be very physical at the breakdown, they pride themselves on that. 

“We know can’t look too much at their last two games because they will be fired up.”