©INPHO/Matteo Ciambell Leigh Halfpenny has kicked eight points so far.
# defending champs
6 Nations: Halfpenny boot shines through messy Welsh win
The fullback’s eight successful kicks were the difference in Murrayfield after Richie Gray was stretchered off.

WALES KEPT PACE with England with a 28-18 win over Scotland in Edinburgh which leaves them second to Stuart Lancaster’s side only on points.

In a game marred by a slew of penalties from referee Craig Joubert, Leigh Halfpenny slotted seven between the posts plus a conversion for Richard Hibbard’s first half try.

The reigning champions led 13-12 at half-time in Edinburgh. Scotland, on the back of wins over home wins over Italy and Ireland, were back at Murrayfield and playing with confidence in the opening exchanges.

Wales registered the first points of the game through a Leigh Halfpenny penalty but Scottish scrum-half Greig Laidlaw levelled matters on six minutes.

The Scots’ pressed on and Laidlaw put the home side ahead with another penalty on 12 minutes.

The usually reliable Halfpenny missed two penalty attempts before hooker Richie Hibbard powered over for a try off the back of a ruck planted on the Scottish line.

The visitors had gained the ground thanks to a charging break up the right from George North. Halfpenny found his range to add the conversion.

Laidlaw made it a one point game less than three minutes later with his third penalty. It cheered the Scottish supporters who, seconds earlier, applauded lock Richie Gray as he was stretchered off the field.

The Scottish scrumhalf landed a monster penalty on 37 minutes after the Welsh scrum reeled backwards but the advantage went to Wales at the break when Halfpenny slotted over a simple chance from 25 metres out.

And it was all about the kickers after the break too – the only reliable element of a messy game – and it was Halfpenny who showed his mettle. The Lions hopeful kicked five from five in the second half as Laidlaw missed two of of his shots at goal to leave Scotland third in the table with four points.

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