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Dublin: 0°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Wales' miserable run continues as Scotland end Six Nations with away win

Gregor Townsend’s men edged it as Wayne Pivac’s difficult start to his tenure continued.

Wales 10

Scotland 14

WALES’ MISERABLE RUN of form continued as they lost for the fifth consecutive time, with Gregor Townsend’s Scotland finishing their 2020 Six Nations campaign with a very pleasing victory on the road.

ali-price-celebrates-after-stuart-mcinally-goes-over-for-a-try Scotland's maul crossed in the second half for a Stuart McInally try. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Welsh have been poor since the departure of Warren Gatland after last year’s World Cup and new boss Wayne Pivac has won just once in his first six games, that victory coming against Italy.

Incredibly, Wales have gone from Grand Slam winners in 2019 to a fifth-place finish in 2020. Their next fixture is a visit to Dublin in the Autumn Nations Cup on 13 November.

Scotland, on the other hand, can reflect on an improved Six Nations campaign that saw them win three of their five games, with this victory lifting them briefly into second in the table, though that situation will change later today. This was their first win in Wales in 18 years.

With a greasy ball and high winds ensuring tricky conditions, it was largely a miserable game at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli – the Principality Stadium in Cardiff is still being used a health centre during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wales failed to deliver on the occasion of Alun Wyn Jones becoming the most capped Test player in rugby history, his 149 taking him beyond Richie McCaw, even though they led 7-6 at half-time.

james-lang-is-tackled-by-dan-biggar The first half in Llanelli failed to ignite. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

A Stuart McInally maul try for the Scots proved crucial in the second 40 minutes and then captain Stuart Hogg sealed the win with a penalty with the last play of the game.

A stuttering first half featured a high number of errors but Finn Russell gave the Scots the lead with three points off the tee as the game really struggled to ignite.

The Welsh scored the opening try just after the half-hour mark, with a clever kick from number eight Taulupe Faletau bouncing into touch inside the Scotland 22 and leaving them in a pressurised situation after earlier lineout mistakes.

Scottish hooker Fraser Brown duly overthrew for the Welsh to regain the ball and they ground their way through narrow phases until loosehead prop Rhys Carré powered over under the posts, with Dan Biggar converting.

The Scots lost Russell, back in the number 10 shirt after his recent return to the set-up, to injury in that passage but replacement Adam Hastings did draw Townsend’s side back to within a point with a penalty that signalled the end of the opening half.

Leading 7-6, Wales lost their own starting number 10 to injury early in the second half as Biggar departed injured, with Rhys Patchell coming on in his place.

rhys-carre-scores-a-try Rhys Carré scored for Wales in the first half. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Some muscular defensive work from the Welsh continued to prevent the Scots from getting into an attacking flow in the third quarter, with the home side twice earning choke tackle turnovers and another at a lineout maul.

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But in the 61st minute, the Scots finally got on top after kicking a penalty into the right corner. From 10 metres out and with several backs joining the maul, the Scots surged all the way over the tryline for replacement hooker McInally to dot down.

Hastings missed the straightforward conversion after the ball fell off the tee and he had to rush his attempt, but Townsend’s side led 11-7.

Leigh Halfpenny soon reduced the Welsh deficit as he won a turnover penalty on kick chase and slotted the three points himself.

With just under 15 minutes remaining, the Scots led 11-10 but suffered another injury blow as Hastings was also forced off injured, ensuring Hogg moved to out-half.

Even without their two out-halves, the Scots showed tactical smarts to kick down into Welsh territory and they earned a late penalty for Hogg to slot with the last action. 

Wales scorers:

Tries: Rhys Carré

Conversions: Dan Biggar [1]

Penalties: Leigh Halfpenny [1]

Scotland scorers:

TriesStuart McInally

Penalties: Finn Russell [1], Adam Hastings [1], Stuart Hogg [1]

WALES: Leigh Halfpenny; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Owen Watkin (Nick Tompkins ’74), Josh Adams; Dan Biggar (Rhys Patchell ’43), Gareth Davies (Lloyd Williams ’73); Rhys Carré (Wyn Jones ’49), Ryan Elias (Sam Parry ’69), Tomas Francis (Dillon Lewis ’57 – reversal ’73); Will Rowlands (Cory Hill ’57), Alun Wyn Jones (captain); Shane Lewis-Hughes, James Davies, Taulupe Faletau (Aaron Wainwright ’69).

SCOTLAND: Stuart Hogg (captain); Darcy Graham (Duhan van der Merwe ’66), Chris Harris, James Lang, Blair Kinghorn; Finn Russell (Adam Hastings, ’32 (Scott Steele ’69)) Ali Price; Rory Sutherland (Oli Kebble ’54), Fraser Brown (Stuart McInally ’54), Zander Fagerson (Simon Berghan ’54); Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray; Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Blade Thomson (Cornell du Preez ’54).

Replacements: Ben Toolis.

Referee: Andrew Brace [IRFU].

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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