Six Nations: Wales v Scotland report: Cardiff curse lifted in game of two halves

Visitors almost blow 27 point lead but hold on to break 22 year losing streak in Cardiff

Duhan van der Merwe celebrates his second try for Scotland against Wales. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Duhan van der Merwe celebrates his second try for Scotland against Wales. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Wales 26

Scotland 27

DAVID BARNES @ Principality Stadium

THERE have been several spectacular self-immolations by Scotland at this venue over the years, and Gregor Townsend’s side came perilously close to topping all of those calamities in this brain-scrambling Six Nations opener.

Having surged into a 0-27 lead with just two minutes of the second half played without really breaking sweat, the Scots fell apart so completely that with 12 minutes to go it was 26-27 and all the momentum was with a Wales side who had transformed – been allowed to transform – from a rag-bag rabble who looked incapable of punching their way out of a paper bag into a lean, mean killing machine.

The visiting side’s discipline was atrocious. The penalty count was 9-0 against them in the second half, and during that time they picked up two yellow-cards. As the pressure escalated, Scotland’s composure on those rare occasions they could get their hands on the ball crumbled.


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Credit where credit is due, they did recover to see out the match, spending the last few minutes bombarding the Welsh line, with the TMO ruling against what would have been a hat-trick try by Duhan van der Merwe because a red leg had managed to prevent the grounding. But this game should never have been anywhere this close.

In fact, Scotland can count themselves extra lucky not to have lost, because had referee Ben O’Keeffe awarded a penalty try after sending George Turner to sin-binned for collapsing the maul in the lead up to Wales’ first try, instead of giving the score to James Botham, then it would have been seven points off the bat. Instead, Ioan Lloyd had to kick the touchline conversion, which he missed, meaning it was only five points. It didn’t seem important at the time because the Scots were so far ahead, but in the end it proved crucial.

As a result, Scotland head into next weekend’s home clash with winning momentum against a French side who will have a point to prove after their Irish mauling on Friday night, but they will have to be an awful lot smarter and more disciplined in that game if they are to be remotely competitive.

Perfect start

Given Scotland’s 22-year losing streak at this venue, it was key that they started well against a callow Welsh team who were bound to grow superpowers if the always vociferous crowd was allowed to get behind them, and the visitors did that very well by thrice kicking penalties in the middle of the park towards the corner and building pressure through their maul.

A Finn Russell penalty following an offside edged them into a sixth minute three-point lead, and they pushed further ahead when Kyle Rowe – looking lively on his first Scotland start and only his second professional start at full-back – made good ground then sent  a lovely flat pass to Kyle Steyn, who scrambled past a few more red jerseys, launching a passage of play which culminated in Pierre Schoeman rumbling under the posts to score.

The TMO was called in but didn’t take long to think about it, and Russell slotted the easy conversion, then kicked another penalty after Josh Adams petulantly threw the ball into the crowd so as to prevent a quick Scottish throw (after an excellent 50-22 from Russell).

Heading into this game, Wales were the only Six Nations team Duhan van der Merwe had not scored against, but he put that right just before the half-hour mark when Russell cut through off that wrap-around move he and Sione Tuipulotu are so fond of, and the stand-off delayed his pass superbly to give the big winger a walk-in.

It stayed 20-0 until half-time, and it was almost impossible to see a way back for Wales. They had lost five line-outs, they couldn’t generate any quick ball and they generally seemed bereft of ideas, while it felt like Scotland had more gears to go through.

 

The start of the second half certainly suggested that it was going to be more of the same, with Rowe and Russell combining to send van der Merwe on a 50-yard rampage to the line – reminiscent of his famous score against England in the first game of last year’s championship – but then it all fell apart.

We assumed that Botham’s try from a line-out maul was some sort of dead-cat-bounce, but we should have known better. It gave Wales belief, and got the crowd back behind them, while 14 man Scotland looked stunned.

Wales boss Warren Gatland emptied his bench with Tomos Williams at scrum-half and Alex Mann in the back-row in particular bringing serious energy.

Wheels come off

The hosts struck again on 51 minutes with Rio Dyer going over on the left and this time the touchline conversion from Lloyd bisected the posts. As the game restarted, ‘Hymns and Arias’ reverberating around the Principality for the first time.

Wales zipped the ball east and west, sniffed out gaps on the edges of Scotland’s stretched defence, and O’Keefe had to have a word with Russell about the indiscipline, before Tuipulotu saw yellow for an offside just minutes after Turner’s return from the naughty step.

Wales scored immediately from the tap penalty when man-of-the-match Aaron Wainwright powered over and Lloyd’s conversion made it 19-27.

Then, almost inevitably, Wales scored again from another penalty kicked to touch. This time, Mann torpedoed himself over the line, and Lloyd converted to make it a one-point game, which was far too close for comfort.

Scotland lost Luke Crosbie to a shoulder injury and with no forwards left to come off the bench, Tuipulotu filled in at flanker. Not ideal when your backs are to the wall, but despite the upheaval Scotland managed to wrestle some control back, holding onto the ball just inside Wales’ half and running down the clock.

Then, with two minutes to go, a powerful scrum created the momentum for a scything attack from Steyn which took the game all the way to the Welsh line, and with the clock in the red, the TMO was called in to look at a third possible try for van der Merwe – but a Welsh arm had prevented the grounding.

 

Teams –

Wales: C Winnett; J Adams, O Watkin (M Grady 51), N Tompkins, R Dyer; S Costelow (I Lloyd 35), G Davies ( T Williams 41); C Domachowski, R Elias (E Dee 41), L Brown ( K Assiratti 41), D Jenkins, A Beard (A Mann 48), J Botham, T Reffell, A Wainwright.

Scotland: K Rowe; K Steyn, H Jones, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; F Russell, B White (G Horne 70); P Schoeman (A Hepburn 61), G Turner  (E Ashman 69), Z Fagerson (E Millar-Mills 69), R Gray ( S Skinner 31), S Cummings, L Crosbie (E Ashman 50-58, C Redpath 71), J Ritchie (J Dempsey 61), M Fagerson.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe

 

Scorers –

Wales: Tries: Botham, Dyer, Wainwright, Mann; Cons: Lloyd 3.

Scotland: Tries: Schoeman, van der Merwe 2; Cons: Russell 3; Pens: Russell 2

Scoring sequence (Wales first): 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 0-13; 0-18; 0-20 (h-t) 0-25; 0-27; 5-27; 10-27; 12-27; 17-27; 19-27; 24-27; 26-27.

 

Yellow cards –

Scotland: Turner (47 mins), Tupulotu (60 mins)


Six Nations: Wales v Scotland live … visitors hold on by the skin of their teeth

About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

66 Comments

  1. Having watched the second half again to see what happened two things are obvious :

    The ref had it in for us for whatever reason and there are a number of crucial decisions that are one sided .

    The one that started the rot was the penalty called on Turner . Ruck – Turner legitimately goes into jackel on side – Welsh player lifts his leg and rolls him onto ball on ground Turner attempted to roll back welsh player pins him down . Turner lift hands to compliance to ref . Ref signals penalty against Turner – ref was right over the whole affair penalty should have been other way .

    The very next scrum it goes down Welsh hooker dipping . Scrum re set after lecture from ref about staying up Welsh hooker dips again but Turner stays up his head pops out penalty Wales !!!!! I can understand why Turner was getting upset .

    First rolling maul at line out with try scored Turner brings it down . Penalty try and Turner sin binned – although right call never rarely occurs when try scored.

    Away from ref issues the difference between first half and second is a number of forwards went missing and a number lost the plot in ruck area when it was obvious ref was seeing blue and no red . Although to be fair Welsh worked very hard on minimising penalties .

    What to do well all the players that went missing have been identified and anyone who watches Scottish pro teams the names are of no surprise . Rather than identify them again I would bring in Darge if fit , Glen Young on bench , Christie . I would also bring on Horne much earlier as sub when teams lose energy he brings real zip .

    I also agree about forwards coaching .

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    • Love how article states that if a penalty try was awarded. Wales scored, his action didn’t prevent the try, his yellow was for repeat infringements. Love how the reporters always try to create that bit of, the ref done us/them in. I agree, Scotland should’ve been given at least 3 advantages in dying seconds, coz Wales were lying all over the ball at the breakdown.

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      • Actually, Ben O Keefe’s arm was out for a penalty before the ball was grounded and the try was awarded. So, he could easily have awarded a penalty try as soon as his arm was out for the penalty because the maul was heading towards the try line (and thus obviate the need for Wales to kick an awkward conversion). As we saw at the RWC, anything goes with Ben O’Keefe. Some of his decisions against Scotland in the second half were questionable but Scotland definitely got the rub of the green on the non-penalty try call.

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  2. People are forgetting how difficult it is to win in Cardiff. We hadn’t done it for 22 years.

    England teams on paper far stronger than Wales hardly ever do it. In RWC warm ups Wales have turned over a 50pt thrashing at Twickenham in a week in Cardiff.

    I remember something similar happening in 2013 v Ireland.

    Rugby really matters in Wales and they play high intensity fixtures from juniors! They are a tough team. They never lie down or give up.

    The Wales team yesterday may have been callow but it’s not talent free and it wasn’t under the same pressure Wales teams usually are.

    Well done Scotland for getting over the hoodoo.

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  3. It’s Sunday now and my blood pressure has dropped below a squillion over a gazillion! Second half reminded me of when I was wee and watched Dr Who… behind the settee with my hands over my eyes!!!!
    On a serious note… from the standpoint of physical size, weight and conditioning our forwards then we match most packs. In my opinion we lack controlled aggression.
    My suggestion is that we bring in a UFC fighter/coach. Undoubtedly some reading this will think that this is a ludicrous suggestion but I can’t really think of any other sport that exhibits the element of controlled aggression better.
    Lets be fair we’ve tried everything else..what have we got to lose…or gain???
    Now sitting back and waiting for the brickbats! Happy days!

  4. Whilst Wales certainly upped the tempo in the 2nd half they didn’t score from free flowing back play with the 1st and 4th tries from line out mauls. I was intrigued to understand how they scored them so easily as the defence seemed to disintegrate on both and I wondered if there was some trickery from the Welsh. There was not.

    On looking at the frame by frame review they are almost identical – as the Wales catcher comes down we drive in at one side of the maul (4 forwards) and take wainwright out of the maul but they shear up the side of the maul and end up yards past the maul as it flies over the line. In both the 4 Scottish forwards end up past the 5m line as the try is scored completely taking themselves out the game.

    The same 4 forwards are Zander, Matt, Skinner and Cummings with Zander on both occasions jogging back watching from more than 5m away as the try is scored. That is not how they normally defend mauls with far too many players targeting one side and nowhere near the ball and almost nobody defending the main direction of the maul. No idea why they did that twice – just madness. It can only be an aberration which I’m sure they can fix for next week.

  5. Out of curiosity who is meant to be coaching the forwards. Superficially they do the basics decently, they have a scrum, can run and win lineouts but when, as yesterday, they get into a dogfight they seem to disappear. A decent forward coach would surely have coached that into them, replicating the pain and pressure of the game in training so it doesn’t come as big a surprise as it appeared to yesterday. Yellow cards are part of the game but I genuinely cannot think of a side managing the periods as poorly as we did, failing to control the ball which should have been absolute focus of those 20 minutes. Big fan of Ritchie (on form) but as ex-captain and effectively packleader he should have been rallying his troops and resetting a pack that had lost its cohesion. I thought we really struggled for onfield leadership. Fin should be able to deal with tactics and manage the referee but think he will always struggle to pull together a pack that, under pressure, are playing like headless chickens. Someone needs to step up and hold the forwards to account – I so hope Darge has that in his armoury.

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    • John Dalziel coaches the forwards, since around 2020 I believe. I’ve never been convinced he’s managed to maximise the capability of our pack: lineout generally shambolic past few years (previously a strength, even in the dark years of the naughties), beaten consistently at the breakdown and as Ross and others have pointed out, maul defence all at sea yesterday. Yes our forwards aren’t the biggest (as in muscle mass) but look, for example at the Welsh yesterday in the 2nd half: lighter pack but they completely owned ours through desire, energy and dog.
      The chaps saying the forwards not recycling ball efficiently are spot on in my view. It had little to do with White. If you lack players who are dominant carriers it presents opportunities for the opposition defence to manipulate the carrier’s body position in the tackle or indeed manipulate the ball. If you have big carriers like the French, Saffers and Irish, the tackler gets little say because he is going back the way just to make the tackle or is put on his arse. Not every ruck is to be played at 100 miles an hour, different circumstances require differing approaches by the scrum-half. Think some on here want us to play like a Pacific Island team: entertaining as; high scoring games; mobile, underpowered forwards; but usually on the wrong side of the scoreline.
      Horne, by the way, got it wrong when big Duhan went over but got it chalked off at the end. Two possible mitigations there are it looked as though Russell called it, and perhaps they were perhaps looking to keep it tight with short passes rather than risking an interception going wide left.

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  6. @septic+9
    If you listen to Franco Smith as to why Glasgow’s maul was so destructive last season he was honest enough to say that it was down to having Shade in to run their lineout maul work.
    If it worked for the weege why couldn’t it work, with many of the same players, for Scotland?

  7. There is alot to unpack here.
    First half we were pretty good without being brilliant, Wales were absolutely dreadful. It was so easy for Scotland, they were in total cruise control. Perhaps this slipped into the psyche second half and at 0-27 the players did feel the game was pretty much done. The first sin binning was a big turning point, we lost all shape and focus while Wales found a resilience they had lacked the entire game up until then. In the end we were fortunate to not throw the match away. We must give some credit to how Scotland themselves rallied and steadied the ship from the 73 minute onwards, Scotland teams of the past might have completely collapsed at the end. A win is a win and we were a tad unfortunate big Duhan didnt get over in the final play to make it a BP win. There have to be questions asked at how we fell apart quite the way we did, we seemed rudderless for about 25 minutes of that second half. Also, how can we handle going down to 14 men so awfully as what we witnessed. Top teams dont let adversity affect them in this way, they dont have the tendency to be flaky that we do at times. Plenty to work on but at least we have excorcised those Cardiff demons and we up and running.

  8. Townsend out now. He makes a simple game complicated and has zero man or team management skills. Gatland put together a team of callow youth captained by a 21 year old and his half time intervention oh so nearly made them Welsh rugby immortals.

    Scottish rugby is in a mess and the blame sits squarely at Dobson, Mallinder and Townsend desk. The first two are gone or going and Townsend must do the same but we all know he wont as he will point the finger at someone else as the buck never sits with him. We all know that he should have gone in 2019 as should have Dobson after his rant and fine paid by the SRU of course but the Murrayfield cabal closed ranks and stuck together. Shameful.

    In the second half we were headless chickens and an absolute disgrace. We so deserved to be beaten and despite ending the Cardiff hoodo all the plaudits quite rightly sit with those Welsh youngsters and not our team of privileged Strathallan/SRU school boys, imports and cast offs.

    Well done Wales and you would have won if the penalty try that should have been given had been. We now face an angry French team at Murrayfield who will be desperate to set the record straight after their shallacking at home by Ireland.

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    • Steady on Alan. Im sure you weren’t saying that at half time. Whilst we are all struggling to understand what went on in the 2nd half with the same players who were good in the first half, it is the players on the pitch who need to take responsibility for their actions. Too many seemed to lose focus on some of the basics like defending a line out maul and knowing when to compete at the breakdown etc. So whilst I know for some it will always be Townsends fault this was the same team bar 2 that won at Murrayfield last year. And we did still win after all.

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  9. not good for the old ticker!
    1st half Gatland was found out. Poor game plan. Scotland were efficient, professional and clinical without hitting top gear. We had top performances and control from White and Russell especially. And we had managed to be sensible taking 3 pts on offer rather than kick everything to the corner.
    Start of 2nd half we score again. Game should have been over and a 50 pointer on the cards. BUT
    Can’t pinpoint any one thing, several things changed/went wrong. Complacency/foot off pedal? Some of that for sure
    Discipline? Stats don’t lie but O’Keefe was at times reffing one team for some offences but not the other one. Players should have reacted better to him, we have had him before and seen him elsewhere, he is simply erratic. That said, the final scrum should have been a clear pen adv to us, he ignored that of course.
    The 3 yellow cards in the circumstances played a huge part- narrowing our defence as Wales chased the game and as many a time previously got the crowd going.
    Which leads me to the last thing that changed. We will all remember when Scotland came back from 0-31 at Twickers. The story was that Russell and the players had thrown the game plan away 2nd half. Well it wasnt quite that, but it certainly was yesterday. Either of their own accord, or because Gatland could see a 50 pointer coming and wanted and excuse he told them just to run everything, they ran everything – and us a man down they looked good and we went into a shell defensively.

    But we won. Plenty to learn from and better to do that when winning. And donlt believe anyone who says our record in Cardiff wasn’t a monkey on our backs and had no effect

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    • Agree… Yes we wobbled with frustration of consistently being penalized…however the fact is that Wales scored all their tries during the spells we were down a man. Whenever we had 15v15 we were the better team and shut Wales out.
      The ref had the same type of match we did.
      We won!!!
      Ha Ha Gatland .2 straight losses v Scotland ..and end of smug 22yr of wins on their turf.

  10. As said I feel like England did after losing that 31 point lead a few years back, what went wrong????. That almost felt like a Glasgow performance blow the opposition away in the first 30 then go to sleep for the rest of the game, like Munster last year 30 odd up in the first 30 hanging on at the end. We took our foot off the gas at 27-0 up and almost paid the price and we only woke up in the last 5 minutes again but we did not lose and that’s all that matters.
    I thought Rowe did very well, Whites kicking was worthy of Dupont, hope Ritchie Gray is not to badly hurt it did look bad, please drop Ritchie, and Ashman.
    Finally VDM’s last non-try I just looked at it again on YouTube the ball does not touch Dyers leg but VDM’s hand is under the ball on the ground but it does touch the grass, makes little difference now I know.

  11. Having watched Bradbury carry relentlessly for Bristol (against Bath) a fortnight ago I’m just astonished Toonie won’t even put him in the training squad.He’s been a fixture in the Bristol team since he moved from Edinburgh 18 months ago and looks to have improved his game since the days when he could go a bit absent during matches.Just the big ball carrier to take it to the French.
    Christie as well is ripping it up in the Premiership but can’t get a look in despite Ritchie clearly being off form.
    If Darge is fit a Christie,Bradbury and Darge combination for Saturday please-won’t happen of course!
    (But yes Toonie will really earn his corn in the selection of the pack for France.)

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  12. Never dull being a Scotland supporter, I guess.

    We weren’t the world beaters a 20-0 scoreline suggests in the first half but looked hungry and didn’t give Wales a sniff (although every chance they did get, they gave the ball back to us). All evaporated in the second half and looked like the players couldn’t get their heads back into it. The welsh really started playing loose and unstructured which we clearly were’t ready for and struggled massively to contain.

    Will take the win and hopefully gives the players a bit of a kick before the next game.

    Wouldn’t make wholesale changes for France:

    – Hutchison for Rowe: Rowe’s kicking was good but he’s clearly more suited to the wing. Needs to be put into space rather than running up through the middle.
    – If Richie Gray is out injured I’d bring in Gilchrist. One of the old guys paired with Cummings is a nice balance.
    – I’d keep Crosbie at 6 for France. We’ve struggled to deal with their massive pack in the past and he does bring grunt. Dempsey at 8. Darge at 7 if fit, otherwise Matt Fagerson. Ritchie is a great player but needs to go back to Edinburgh and get some form as he’s not played to his usual standards consistently for a while.
    – Matthews for Ashman. Turner was great in the first half and lost his head in the second. Would back him but Matthews is a steadier option to bring on and in better form than Ashamn currently.

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  13. Second half was hard to watch from a Scottish perspective. Our poor discipline and the usual erratic performance by O’Keefe. Gave an offside at the ruck against Cummings early in the 2nd half. He was 3m away and “tight” is an understatement. One of a series of poor decisions but we really didn’t help ourselves. No idea why Ritchie or Skinner are in the team. Lack of self control is a common theme there at club level. Turner is another one prone to losing his head. But above all GT should have gone after Japan…. and should be on his way.

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  14. I’ve had a fragmented sleep to dwell on this performance but,,,,,,

    Still shocked at the capitulation in the 2nd half against a callow, young & inexperienced Wales side who should take all the plaudits.
    As for Scotland, a settled and vastly experienced team who just crumbled, my goodness can you imagine what England, France, Ireland & Italy made of that headless chicken second half performance, hardly concerned methinks, just put a wee bit of pressure on and they’ll crumble? 15 x penalties in a row against c/w 2 x Yellow Cards, which I struggle to rationalise from an experienced side.
    Harsh comments some will say, yes some decent individual performances but this is a team game, and as a team they fell apart for 35 mins of the second half, and lost it 26-0 😲

    That said England capitulated against us in the 2nd half in 2019 loosing heavily after being so dominant therefore it’s not a first 🤷‍♂️. Doesn’t make it any easier to digest though 😯

  15. Well that was one hell of a roller coaster and it’s traumatic watching Scotland. Once the dust settles they’ll realise they’ve just removed another hoodoo and no more journalists telling us how long it’s been since we won in Cardiff so well done lads.

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  16. We were not as good as the 27-0 scoreline suggested. Wales had been absolutely abject up to that point and we were ahead primarily down to some outstanding play from White Finn and VDM. What happened after that was a reflection of Townsends poor selections in the forwards and inability to make timely replacements when everything was going pear shaped. The back row in particular (Crosbie excepted) offered nothing except huff and puff all game and were completely blown away by Reffell and Wainwright in the second half.How many turnovers did we win, how many times did Fagerson break the line with ball in hand ….. none. This all sits at Townsends door. Drop the non performers, drop the brain less penalty machines, especially in areas where there are in form players available. Better still resign and lets get a coach who selects based on form and not on relationships and previous form.

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    • Totally agree re back row (although thankfully Crosby’s was outstanding), and point re subs.
      Just doesn’t seem to learn. Don’t think Rowe was a strong contender to displace Kinghorn either by the way, nor Steyn to displace Graham.

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  17. Jesus H Christ – don’t really know where to go with that. 14 unanswered penalties in the second half I think. Really?

    I so don’t want to be that person having done the job myself before but that genuinely may be a world record in international rugby?

    Don’t get me wrong did plenty of rotten stuff ourselves in the second half but we weren’t that much dirtier than the Welsh. I agree with the officials on the majority of the calls but they were all over the place towards the end and didn’t seem to see any recompense whatsoever. So much for Fin managing the ref better than Ritchie…

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  18. That really was a game of two halves. Basking in the glory that f the tries in 1st half. Then tempting fate by thinking we were on for a 30 or 40 pointer.

    Fair play to Wales. They were abject in the first half. But never gave up. Had they caught the ball on the 10m line out they would have scored.

    But games are won on fine margins. Thankfully we were right side if that. I’ve never felt more deflated after a win. Tortuous 2nd half. Onwards and upwards.

  19. Far too many people happy with that. That second half was atrocious. This was the worst wales team in siz nations history and to only just win isn’t good enough. Townsend has taken this team as far as he can.
    Time for change

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  20. Just watched the game back. Firstly, I remember crying my eyes out watching the 2010 game. Today felt so overdue. Secondly, maybe I’m in the minority here but I don’t think we were as good as a scoreboard of 27-0 would suggest or quite as bad as the second half momentum shift suggests either.

    In the first half our gameplay benefitted from Wales’ initial attack plan. Their strategy of kicking regularly without running the ball from their own half didn’t work, at all. We won the kicking battle and that gave us a chance to capitalise via counterattacks and set plays. I don’t think the lack of effectiveness of Wales’ gameplay can be overstated: Garland’s plan backfired really badly today.

    It was only when Wales’ tactics changed to running the ball from deep in order to commit Scottish defenders between the 15s that the momentum of the game pivoted. They were helped by some marginal calls going their way – the scrum penalty against Ashman, Zander’s being pinned on the wrong side of the ruck, Turner (or Fagerson?) tackling from the ground – but that can happen.

    The takeaway for me is that we need to be better at managing the game. For example, the Ashman scrum penalty came on the back of us giving away 4 penalties, a yellow card and a try in the preceding 6 plays. Why are we trying to milk a penalty from a referee against that background?Even though we were the dominant pack in that scrum, Ashman standing up just gave the referee an opportunity to further penalise us. In those situations I’d like to see us take the time to reset and play to our structure like we usually do.

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  21. We are still missing big carriers up front, look at how Ireland carried hard into Frances’s defence. Sadly our back row looked light weight even against a fired up Welsh team.

  22. Need to sort the discipline out.. big time! Ridiculous to be that close in the end. 15 v 15 Scotland were the better side imo…the 20 mins of player advantage swung the momentum Wales way…those 20 mins were the only time Wales looked like scoring. It’s a bit eye brow raising that ref couldn’t see a single Wales penalty whe it looked like the were constantly infringing at the ruck and offside often.
    Scotland are a better side than Wales …but yeah…sort the discipline out lads!

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    • Our poor discipline was down to complecency and laziness; going for ball when told not to and finding ourselves offside on too many occasions. Need to manage the ref better for next game. No panic, all doable!

  23. Trying to be level headed here…. Difficult! Can’t help think that a lot of that came down to coaching, prep, and half-time chat. Hats off to Gatland and the young Welsh team in particular Wainwright, Reffell, Williams, and Dyer for almost turning that round – but serious serious questions we have to ask of ourselves. Central to that is Toonies persistence in picking players who have played well, but not those that ARE playing well. Back row could/should have been Bradbury, Christie and Dempsey with Bayliss on the bench. Young Fagerson deserved to start, just didn’t have a good ‘un. If Ritchie not playing well enough to keep the captaincy then he’s not playing well enough to get picked? Gotta move on for next week, and no room for sentiment.

    Positives, Rowe was solid and will improve, deserves to keep his place at FB. Stick with the whole backline, but forwards need a hard look at themselves and selection – lock being an issue if RG is out…. Wouldn’t that we love to have a McCarthy in our ranks but alas we don’t.

    Sorry for the downer of a post, we won after 22 yrs after all, but that second half just typifies our lack of consistency and mental fragility that other sides seem to get coached on better than us.

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  24. Scotland fans should count themselves lucky that they now have a team who can build a lead in the first half, have 2 sin binnings let the opposition score 4 tries and still win. God knows how many games i’ve seen over 30 years where we were so close but still lost. Where if only we played so well for 80 as we did for 40, we’d win everything. When Scotland went back to 15 wales pretty much dried up. Yes we got complacent, yes we let a pretty poor welsh side back in to the game, but look 4 points 3rd in the table. I’ll take that. Defensively we absolutely need to up it against france, england and italy. Don’t even mention ireland that’s a foregone conclusion.

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  25. No idea why Rowe is deemed a bright spot. He missed a number of high balls, ran up some blind alleys and made a hash of securing one speculative Welsh kick through ‘all at sea’ is how I’d describe him. We need a club 15.
    Turner and Ashman need dropping from the squad, they are both Meh. Mathews at least brings try scoring ability and Cherry can throw darts accurately.
    Crosbie or Whyte would have been my MOM. How the officials can nominate a Welsh player in a team who only played for 20 minutes is bewildering.
    Russell showed both sides to his game yet again, a few maverick touches leading to tries and some speculative kicks that were never ‘on’. Will he ever learn.

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      • Rory Hutchinson. Has played centre mostly but is being used as Fullback effectively at Northampton. Or Patterson at Embra or Huw Jones.
        Rowe has never previously played fullback, honestly what other international coach would give someone their 1st cap in a position they haven’t played before. How often have we heard Townsend say ‘such and such a player went well in training’ ? I’m sorry but a runabout against the B team at the Oriam is not the same as 15 angry Welshmen at the Principality with 80,000 supporters booing you.

    • Rowe didn’t miss any any high balls at and both carried / kicked well beyond gain line every time…..did he maybe get a snog off Ur missus by any chance??

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      • Watch the game again and you will see he missed a few.
        I’m a Warriors supporter but I’m mystified at the level of adoration for him as his defence even in his position of wing is lacking. He is no Darcy or Duhan on the wing and there are at least 4 I’d play ahead of him at FB not including the obvious injured.

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    • Agree, collectively, we were back to 50:50 on dealing with high balls. After a promising start, a lot of ball simply bounced off our catchers, unless they were one of the aimless uncontested kick Wales provided in the first half.

      A win’s a win and we did control the 15 v 15 periods, though the drop off with one short was alarming – we’ve all seen plenty of teams deal with it better. We move on to France who have their own worries and a seeming lack of mobility up front – Ireland looked to be playing at a different pace, one France. could not live with. Looks like a lot could depend on the doctor’s assessments for next week, certainly rather have Gray and Crosbie available and Gilco back, than not.

  26. Definitely understand the concerns around how it all went wrong so quickly in 2nd half. But I think it’s also worth appreciating a Scotland team that found a way to win in the end. How many times have we been on the other side of games like this over the years? brave, heroic efforts, but the other team ultimately leaves with the win/points.
    A few years ago at 26-27 with 10 mins left we’d have lost, but we actually played last 10 really well. Good example is that last scrum. After an early free-kick we’d been penalised all game at scrum time… if we’d conceded a penalty Wales would have been up to 22 and might have won it… instead, we produced by far our most dominant scrum of the match when it really counted. How many Scotland teams have done that over the last couple of decades?

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    • Some sense spoken. Does anyone appreciate how hard it is to win away from home in the 6 Nations ( just as hard in the 5 Nations), if you don’t I suggest you look at the record books.
      40 years ago we won a Grand Slam, we were lucky in the first game in Wales. We deserved to win today, we move on and after the France game we will have 2 wins under our bent.

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    • Yes agree, we finally got out act together again in the last 5-10 mins. Nonsense from the commentators suggesting another 5 and Wales would have won, instead having reverted to playing properly we’d have taken the 4th try to get the bonus points and deprive them on one.

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  27. Well that was a nerve shredder. At half time I was basking in what I thought was one of the best 40min of rugby id ever seen from Scotland. Total Control. And then when we went 27-0 up i was thinking of some record scores. You always knew that Wales would have a period of supremacy but not for the next 35 min. Fair play to Wales they had nothing to lose and just threw the ball around. We however should have managed the game better but we seemed to get so passive in defence just conceding the ball to Wales at every ruck and allowing them to throw the ball around.

    When I heard that we had conceded 11 consecutive penalties I was staggered and I think it ended up 14 or 15 without a single penalty against Wales in the 2nd half – talk about keeping the ref onside. That must be a record and not one to be proud off. I think we became so scared of getting another yellow card that we got even more passive and yet still conceded all these penalties. There is no way Ireland would allow that to happen.

    One big area of concern in the 2nd half was the line out maul defence which was non existent and conceded 3 tries – players simply not doing their job and wrongly targeting the side of the maul and getting sheared off the side.

    Sorry but i’m feeling like this was a loss when I know it was the first win in 22 years in Cardiff. Plenty to work on and id love to listen in to the post mortem on Monday to find out what the players were thinking. Im sure there will be a lot of stick aimed at Townsend but the players on the day have to do their jobs and keep their discipline. The same players who looked in total control in the first half. How do you explain it.

    Anyway on to the France game next week with a win and still on track for the Slam.

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    • Absolutely correct about our maul defence and never got our own maul going once. Both of these things a Glasgow strength. No idea what went wrong.

      • No Johnny Mathews for starters…..no idea why the lad wasn’t selected in the 23 let alone starting. The form Hooker.

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      • Scotland haven’t called on the services of Shade Munro, the former Glasgow forwards coach, to run their mauls
        Why? Maybe it’s because the first thing Townsend did after Glasgow won the pro 14 was to get a new forwards coach, deciding not to have Munro ‘s tenure prolonged
        Cannot fathom why that happened back then or why Munro isn’t Scotland forwards coach now.
        Only Townsend knows.

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      • @Sensiball
        Shade isn’t Glasgow’s forward coach, hasn’t been for a very long time. He is currently lead academy coach, prior to that Scotland Women’s coach.
        Truth is he is a lovely man but he was moved as Glasgow forwards coach mainly because Glasgow had no maul and no maul defence. Its not his strong point

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  28. Shambolic second half performance. Lack of mental toughness with no back row to be seen in the second half. – luckily Wales were so poor in the first half that we scraped a win.

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  29. Struggle to understand why Sione was carded having watched the sequence back several times. Only the ref will know

    Ritchie is unfit and off form. Bradbury would bring more than Matt F.

    Kyle Rowe a bright spot.

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    • Ref said he was offside twice during that sequence of play. No idea if it was a good call or not but remember him explaining it to Russell.

    • Surely Dempsey, Darge , Christie and Bayliss come into play v France. Ritchie is in really poor form..Fagerson puts the work in but just lacks something. Crosbie did well but has been unlucky with injuries over the years.

  30. From Toonie Flip to Toonie Flop. It’s definitely time for a change. I’m sure that Dodson will have previously arranged a suitable inflated termination package.

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    • Franco Smith for Scotland … Tuipuloto as captain and Marcus Bradbury as 8 to add some much needed grunt to support Luke Crosbie at 6 and one specialist 7 only please … Finn is the most mercurial 10 in the game and we are lucky to have him but 2nd half tonight proved why he is not an international captain.

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      • Franco Smith based on what? Mediocre Glasgow performances, poor Italy record? The same Tuipulotu for captain who got himself binned for 2 offsides in the same play?

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      • Should have lost … if Ben O’Keefe had applied the laws correctly and awarded Wales a penalty try (7 points) for George Turner collapsing the maul for Wales first try. We got away with one there …

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