Wales find spark to subdue Scotland with Cardiff win

Scotland’s losing run in the Six Nations championship now stretches to nine games

Man of the match  Jamie Roberts scores a try in the win against Scotland. Photograph: EPA

Man of the match Jamie Roberts scores a try in the win against Scotland. Photograph: EPA

 

Wales 27 Scotland 23

Wales extended Scotland’s losing Six Nations championship run to nine matches with second-half tries from Jamie Roberts and George North securing a 27-23 victory on Saturday.

Lacklustre Wales, second best for an hour under a closed roof at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, sparked into life when Roberts barged over and then North touched down after a strong diagonal run.

Wales, who rallied from 13-0 down to draw 16-16 with Ireland in their tournament opener last weekend, scored the game’s opening try through scrumhalf Gareth Davies but Scotland replied soon after via winger Tommy Seymour.

Three Greig Laidlaw penalties put Scotland 16-13 up midway through the second half before Wales pulled clear. Duncan Taylor’s late converted try proved only a consolation.

“Historically we tend to get gradually better as the tournament goes on. That’s a bit better than last week, but you’ve got to give credit to Scotland. The way they’re playing they don’t deserve to be zero from two matches,” Wales captain Sam Warburton told the BBC.

Scotland, beaten 15-9 at home by England a week ago, have not defeated Wales since 2007 and have not won in Cardiff for 14 years.

Wales began with a bang with scrumhalf Davies, who appeared suspiciously offside, crossing after six minutes.

Outhalf Dan Biggar, recovered from an ankle sprain that forced him off in the first half against Ireland, chipped into Scotland’s half and when the ball was knocked back, Davies was there to pick up and burst 40 metres to the tryline.

But Scotland, forced into a change before kickoff with Sean Lamont coming in on the wing for the injured Sean Maitland, hit back immediately.

They worked downfield through numerous well-controlled phases, gaining momentum from Laidlaw’s sniping burst through a gap, before outhalf Finn Russell’s chip to the corner was touched down by the impressive Seymour.

Scotland were hammered 51-3 on their last visit to Cardiff in 2014 when they had Stuart Hogg sent off, and the fullback enjoyed a brighter afternoon until injury forced him out of the game after half an hour.

Despite the loss of their most potent attacking threat, Scotland continued to make metres against a retreating Welsh defence and got reward with two Laidlaw penalties, either side of one from Biggar, to put the Scots 13-10 up at the break.

Further shots at goal from both goalkickers kept Scotland ahead and a sign that the Scots were winning the battle up front came when Wales coach Warren Gatland hauled off three of his pack in one swoop.

Having lacked attacking inspiration, winger Tom James’ electric 60-metre burst down the flank finally sparked the hosts into life on 58 minutes. Scotland centre Duncan Taylor making a try-saving tackle on the left winger.

The crowd ignited, Wales exerted intense pressure in the next few minutes before Roberts crashed over from close range to put his side ahead for the first time since their early try.

North then made the game safe when he ran in unopposed from the Scotland 22, leaving Vern Cotter’s men to wonder just when the next Six Nations win will come.

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