DAVID BARNES @ Stadiwm Zip World
FRUSTRATION – again – for Kenny Murray’s young Scots, as they failed to fortify a 10 point lead established at the start of the second half, and conceded three tries in the final 12 minutes to hand their opponents a bonus-point to go with a win which was much more comprehensive than it really should have been.
With Italy picking up a 6-0 win over England, the Scots are now the only winless team in the championship, and they face an uphill battle to avoid back-to-back Six Nations whitewashes.
“We turned round 7-0 up, but we left a few chances out there in the first half, I was disappointed with that,” sighed head coach Murray afterwards. “In the second half, we started well, but in the end it was a bit similar to last week [when Scotland lost their opening match of this Six Nations campaign at home against England]. Winning at half-time, we score straight after half-time, but then we struggled at the breakdown where they were really aggressive.
“We struggled with our speed to contact and gave away a couple of soft tries through poor tackling, and then we beat ourselves a bit from an exit. We just didn’t exit effectively and they scored from it. It’s a massive learning that when you play international rugby you’ve got to get the small things right.”
Scotland passed up an early opportunity to draw first blood when a Christian Townsend penalty attempt sailed wide of the posts, but they kept their focus and took the lead on 15 minutes when hard-working No 8 att Deehan burrowed over from close range for a converted score.
However, the visitors struggled thereafter for possession and did well to manage their defence so that their try-line was never really under serious threat during the remainder of the first half, although they did ride their luck a little when home stand-off Jac Lloyd fired a not-rolling-away penalty from 25-yards out and almost directly in front of the posts into the woodwork on the stroke of half-time.
Full-back Robin Mc Lintock’s successful penalty early in the second half stretched Scotland’s advantage to 10 points, but Wales bounced back when Alex Mann did well to collect fellow back-rower Tom Cowan’s offload with his fingertips at knee level on his way to the line.
Scotland seemed rattled for a while, struggling to cope with the swirling wind, but Welsh indiscipline helped them work their way back into the game, and a not-releasing penalty conceded by the hosts offered Mc Lintock an opportunity to show the range of that mighty left boot with an excellent kick from just inside the Welsh half.
But that was as good as it got for the Scots, and they fell behind on 68 minutes when an overthrown line-out handed Wales possession deep inside the Scottish 22, and Joe Hawkins hit a great line at pace to claim the home team’s second try, which Morgan Lloyd converted
Right wing Harri Houston took the game beyond Scotland’s reach when he finished well in the corner on 74 minutes, and the bonus-point was secured in the final minute by replacement back-row Morgan Morse.
“They’re learning as they go along through this programme but at the same time I think there are parts of our game and game-management we should be better at,” concluded Murray. “We know our exits, we plan them, we run them, but tonight we don’t exit well and they score a try from it. That’s a learning for those boys.”
“It’s fixable, but it’s just frustrating because that’s two games now where we’ve been leading at half-time and not managed to kill a team off. The boys have a lot of learning and work to do in the next few weeks. It’s things we can definfiely improve, but I’m a bit disappointed and frustrated.”
Wales: C Winnett; H Houston, E James (J Westwood 71), J Hawkins, O Andrew; J Lloyd (D Edwards 66), A Hughes (M Lloyd 66); R Barratt ( J Cowell 68), E Daniel (M Veness, 63), A Williams (E Fackrell 76), B Williams, R Woodman (L Jones 76), T Cowan (M Morse 77), E Fackrell, A Mann.
Scotland: R Mc Clintock; R McKnight, D Munn, A Stirrat (E Cunningham 76), O Melville; C Townsend , M Redpath (J Cope 72); M Jones (A Rogers 63), P Harrison (G Hiddleston 69(, G Scougall (C Norrie 49), J Taylor, M Williamson O Oguntibeju (J Spurway 68), R Tait, M Deehan (R Gordon 49).
Referee: Sara Cox (England)
Wales: Try: Mann, Hawkins, Houston Morse; Con: Lloyd, D Edwards 2.
Scotland: Tries: Deehan; Con: Townsend; Pen: Mc Lintock 2.
Scoring sequence (Wales first): 0-5; 0-7 (h-t) 0-10; 5-10; 7-10; 7-13; 12-13; 14-13; 19-13; 24-13; 26-13.