Thursday, 22 February, 2018

Six Nations: Wales v Scotland

Jamie Roberts Jamie Roberts celebrates his last Wales try against Ireland in the 2017 Six Nations
Isaac Mcdaniel | 04 February, 2018, 01:56

Byron McGuigan's fine form for Sale Sharks has been rewarded with the winger having been selected to start for Scotland in Saturday's Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff this weekend.

After bombing at least three other tries, Wales bagged a bonus-point fourth with a Steff Evans dive and one-hand touchdown in the left corner.

Under Vern Cotter, Scotland beat Ireland and Wales at home in the Six Nations past year, but failed to show up against England at Twickenham and also lost in France.

Peter Horne did grab a consolation try at the death for the visitors but Scotland were well and truly humbled on a final scoreline of 34-7 to Wales.

Barclay, who has assumed the captaincy from Greig Laidlaw, said at his eve-of-match press conference that he doubted Gatland would change a formula of play that has served him well in 10 years as Wales coach.

"We missed too many tackles, we knew Wales would be unsafe but our lineout didn't function at all. not a great recipe to win a Test match".

"We've trained really well the last two weeks and I said to the players "I think we'll batter them".

"There was definitely a quiet confidence in the squad, they have been outstanding in their preparation, and we went into the game expecting to win reasonably comfortably".

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"We should be criticized for this performance", coach Gregor Townsend said.

Scotland have now lost 16 of their 18 away games in the Six Nations since 2010, their only two victories coming in Italy, and they contributed to their own downfall here as Gareth Davies intercepted Ali Price's pass to surge over.

Wales: L Halfpenny, J Adams, S Williams (O Watkin 70), H Parkes, S Evans, R Patchell (G Anscombe 62), G Davies (A Davies 65), R Evans (W Jones 50), K Owens (E Dee 62), S Lee (T Francis 50), C Hill (B Davies 55), AW Jones (captain), A Shingler, J Navidi, R Moriarty (J Tipuric 64).

"We had tempo but not accuracy", Scotland captain John Barclay said.

Scotland steadied themselves but could not penetrate a resolute rearguard from Wales, who took a 14-0 lead into the interval.

The Scarlets man soon nailed another penalty to make it 20-0 and with that, the game was over. A driven lineout, pick-and-gos, and Halfpenny had a second try, and made a third conversion from the sideline.

It wasn't the Halfpenny show, but he reminded of his importance after being put in the shade by his Scotland counterpart Stuart Hogg, the player of the tournament in the last two years but who was hardly sighted in this match.

Wales are without a swathe of injured players, including British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton and centre Jonathan Davies, and some see the Scots as dark horses to win their first ever Six Nations title, but the home team can take heart from the fact their opponents have not won in Cardiff since 2002.

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