Scotland v Wales: Visitors win at Murrayfield to get back on track in Six Nations
Last Updated: 16/02/15 7:52am
Wales recovered from their opening Six Nations defeat to England with a tight 26-23 win over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.
The victory maintained Warren Gatland's record of never having lost to Scotland in eight seasons as Wales' head coach. For his opposite number, fellow New Zealander Vern Cotter, a last minute try by replacement Jon Welsh came too late to avoid a second successive defeat in the championship, following Scotland's 15-8 defeat against France in Paris.
Both teams failed to trouble the scoreboard in the second halves of their opening weekend matches but Wales were 3-0 up in the seventh minute, full-back Leigh Halfpenny nailing a penalty after Scotland's openside flanker Blair Cowan was caught on the wrong side of a ruck.
Not that the visitors were able to press home their advantage. Indeed, they found themselves 7-3 behind in the 10th minute after being hit by a fine Scottish counter-attack.
Scotland outside-half Finn Russell stripped the ball from Alex Cuthbert and fed it on via lock Richie Gray to Stuart Hogg, who raced 60 metres up the left to score – a sweet moment for the Glasgow full-back, his sending off in Cardiff last year having precipitated Scotland's 51-3 record defeat against Wales
Greig Laidlaw, Scotland's scrum-half and captain, added the conversion and then stretched the lead to 10-3 with an 18th minute penalty. His side had to absorb some sustained pressure after Halfpenny took a high ball and set Rhys Webb away on a left wing charge.
Hogg managed to stop the Welsh scrum-half but Scotland conceded a penalty that Halfpenny converted to make it 10-6 with 21 minutes on the clock.
Eleven minutes later the Scottish lead was cut to 10-9, Halfpenny landing a third penalty after Russell was shown yellow after clumsily impeding Dan Biggar in the air.
The numerical advantage soon told, winger Liam Williams sprinting up the left before feeding an inside pass for Webb to score in the 34th minute.
Halfpenny's conversion put Wales 16-10 up but they were also down to 14 men two minutes later when centre Jonathan Davies was yellow carded for tackling Scotland No 8 Johnnie Beattie in the air, although it did look like he was going for the ball.
The Scots survived a scare on the hour mark. Williams dived over in the left corner after a Welsh line-out drive but the score was chalked off because of obstruction.
It proved to be a temporary reprieve. In the 64th minute Wales had their second try and some breathing space, the returning Davies bursting through the home defence to score under the posts and Halfpenny converting.
Scotland could not turn their posession into points as the clock wound down and possibly should have got something after Sam Hidalgo-Clyne's pass was judged to be forward just before Mark Bennett dotted down.
Scotland were denied one more tilt at their visitors as Welsh barged over for a second Scotland try in the final minute. It looked like there was time for the restart after Russell’s conversion, but referee Glen Jackson called time leaving Cotter's men three points short.