Welsh Coach Warren Gatland has warned his players against any further ill discipline as he prepares his side to take on Scotland in the Six Nations.
Bradley Davies’s sin binning against Ireland last week was just one of a number of yellow cards which have hindered Wales in recent times and Gatland has had enough.
The New Zealander has admitted his warnings have had no effect on the squad and has threatened his players with financial penalties if it happens again.
“I have asked the players about what sort of deterrent we need, whatever I am saying at the moment is not working,” said Gatland.
His admission that the squad’s disciplinary procedure is not working raises a number of questions as the subject continues to dominate this year’s Six Nations.
Wales have had a poor disciplinary record of late, captain Sam Warburton’s sending off in the World Cup semi-final followed by Davies’s yellow card and subsequent seven-week ban for his tip tackle on Donncha Ryan.
And the Welsh management team are looking for a way to stop it happening again though the idea of fines has not proved popular with the squad.
“I did suggest a fine of £20,000 or £30,000 but they didn’t seem to like that,” Gatland continued.
The New Zealander does believe Davies has learnt his lesson though.
“I think it’s going to be a good lesson for him and also a financial lesson in terms of win bonuses and appearance bonuses,” he said.
Warburton who has been passed fit to lead his side out at the Millennium Stadium after recovering from a dead leg sustained in the win over Ireland, has questioned the use of fines.
“£20,000 is a lot of money, financially you would not do it again,” he said. Fining squad members for each yellow card is a controversial step given that players can be cautioned for any number of reasons.
“The same punishment for every tip tackle is a bit harsh,” added the Cardiff Blues flanker.
Discipline aside, Wales look in good shape ahead of their clash with Andy Robinson’s side.
The return of Dan Lydiate and prop Gethin Jenkins to the pack adds extra experience to the Welsh side with Ryan Jones, who started in the back-row at the Aviva Stadium, moving to lock. Warburton’s fitness means the Welsh pack is close to full strength though Warburton has dismissed his lack of training this week as a problem.
“I don’t want to do any contact and risk it flaring up,” he said. “It’s not an issue really.”
Despite Wales being odds on favourites for Sunday’s match, the Welsh squad are expecting a tough game. Prop Adam Jones had this to say on their Scottish opponents.
“We’ve got to improve on last week and I am sure it is going to be closer than many people think,” continued Gatland who confirmed there was a “good possibility” Leigh Halfpenny will start as first choice goal kicker.
One of Wales’s main attacking options will again be young winger George North and Gatland was bullish when asked if he thought the Scottish defence would be ready for him. “Good luck,” was his swift reply.
Gatland’s crack down on his squad shows his determination to turn Wales into the best side in the northern hemisphere with the Scottish next in their eye line. But it will be his own players who will fear Gatland the most if one of them is dismissed on Sunday.