Scotland 24-25 Wales
With both teams winning the first round fixtures this was going to be the game to see who will be top of the table on the Saturday night. Scotland 0 – 3 Wales (Leigh Halfpenny) after 7 minutes showed the visitors fancied their chances. Finn Russell though kicked an equaliser just 3 minutes later. Russell added a conversion 9 minutes later after Scotland’s Darcy Graham scored their first try. A Stuart Hogg chip and chase to gather his own kick to score a try, which was also converted by Russell saw Scotland open up a nice lead.
A passage of play that saw a series of sloppy penalties and advantages being played enabled Louis Rees-Zammit score a try just before the half time.
Scotland 17 – 8 Wales
Gary Graham thought he’d got Scotland a try on the 50th minute, but the TMO over ruled. A minute later Liam Williams runs in a Welsh try, which is converted by Sheedy. The TMO came into play again 4 minutes later when Zander Fagerson was shown a red card for his shoulder connected with Wyn Jones’ head at the breakdown. Clearly, he’d not seen the Irish red card the week before for the exact same thing.
Wales With A Man Advantage Again.
So for the second match on the trot, Wales were playing against a side with 14 men on the pitch. After the close result against Ireland, this would be the best time to exert pressure and put in a solid winning display. With 25 minutes left this would be the perfect chance to get the points difference in their favour and close the French in the tables.
Wyn Jones went over for an unconverted try a couple of minutes after the red card was shown, Wales in front by 3 points now. Scotland awarded a couple of kickable penalties but instead chose to go for scrums, neither bringing the try they were looking for. Eventually, Stuart Hogg produces a lovely try which Russell converts to put Scotland back in the lead by 24-20 and there were just about 15 minutes left to play. The previous week we’d seen the pace of Rees-Zammit and this week he once again showed his skills. His try here coming from his own chip and chase which was well taken. The conversion failed to add to the points.
Outcomes so far;
Scotland are dangerous even with just 14 men on the field as the past 2 weeks have shown. The Welsh have battled and beaten 2 teams who had a man sent off, 5 points ahead of Ireland last Sunday and a single point today. It’s often argued that it’s difficult to play against 14 men but my own thoughts here are that Wayne Pivac makes great tactical substitutions but against a fully functioning England side or the French in the top of the table clash, their luck will run out. Wales have held on in both their opening games, they’ve never looked dominant.
Saturday 27th Feb sees the English team in Wales for the next round of fixtures. This one will be the real test for Pivac and his men.