Ahead of Round Four of the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations, Wales lie fourth in the table with just a single victory to their name but that doesn’t even begin to tell the story of their valiant campaign so far.
After storming out of the blocks with a fine victory over Scotland, Warren Gatland’s side have been bested by England and Ireland but they have handed both of those title-chasers thorough examinations of their credentials.
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Simultaneously, Wales have also hinted that they will make plenty of noise between now and the end of Rugby’s Greatest Championship.
Here’s our look at their Championship so far.
ROUND ONE: HOW’S THAT FOR STARTERS?
What a start to the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations it was from Wales, who signalled their intent with a resounding 37-7 triumph over Scotland.
Supporters at the Principality Stadium – those of a red-shirted persuasion at least – left grinning from ear-to-ear after Gatland’s injury-hit squad secured a stylish bonus-point triumph.
Wales were missing eight British & Irish Lions but looked far from underpowered as Gareth Davies and Leigh Halfpenny went over for early tries.
In the second half, Halfpenny would go over for a second try while his boot helped the fly-half bring up a personal haul of 24 points.
The Welsh helped themselves to 34 unanswered points, Steff Evans also dotting down, before Peter Horne’s late consolation try for the Scots.
Not a bad way for Gatland to mark his ten-year anniversary as Wales head coach.
ROUND TWO: GOING TOE-TO-TOE WITH THE CHAMPIONS
Their impressive display against the Scots handed Wales all the confidence they needed to head to Twickenham and take on the reigning NatWest 6 Nations champions.
Round Two produced one of the most unrelenting contests of this year’s Championship so far, with the Welsh pushing Eddie Jones’ side all the way in their own back yard.
Ultimately, however, two first-half tries from Jonny May proved Wales’ undoing as they were beaten 12-6.
Penalties either side of half-time from Rhys Patchell and Gareth Anscombe made up the visitors’ total and Gatland’s side were also left ruing the latter’s disallowed try, which was ruled out by the TMO when the Wales man through he had beaten England’s Anthony Watson to a loose ball.
It wasn’t to be Wales’ day but they battled valiantly and looked ahead to Round Three with optimism.
ROUND THREE: SO CLOSE TO A COMEBACK FOR THE AGES
Halfpenny installed himself as the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations top points-scorer so far with a fine kicking display at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin but Wales fell at the hands of the only team still in with a shot of a Grand Slam.
That’s not to say that Gatland’s troops didn’t threaten to knock the Ireland charge off-course, though.
An absorbing encounter saw the Irish stamp their authority on proceedings, Cian Healy going over for a bonus-point try with 54 minutes on the clock, adding to earlier efforts from Jacob Stockdale and Dan Leavy.
But Wales, who had seen Gareth Davies go over in the first period, refused to roll over and roared back with a vengeance, Aaron Shingler and Steff Evans dotting down to put them to within three points of their hosts with as many minutes remaining.
A second try from Ireland’s Stockdale late on, after he picked off an ambitious pass from Anscombe, killed off any hope of Wales completing a comeback but the final score far from told the whole story of a spirited Welsh effort.