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RESULT : RBS 6 Nations – Scotland 23 – 26 Wales


Davies scored what proved to be the winning try

Davies darts over to ensure Wales bounce back

Jonathan Davies’ second-half try proved to be the killer blow at BT Murrayfield as Wales got their 2015 RBS 6 Nations campaign up-and-running.

Defeat to England in Cardiff nine days earlier ensured Warren Gatland’s men travelled to Edinburgh knowing nothing but victory would do if they were to preserve their hopes of regaining the Championship this year.

Scotland – fresh from a narrow defeat in Paris – would have fancied their chances to rub salt into the Welsh wounds and Stuart Hogg’s breakaway try threatened to do exactly that.

Rhys Webb grabbed his second try in as many RBS 6 Nations game and thought he had laid one on for Liam Williams, only for the score to be scratched off.

However, Davies burst through to grab the winning try shortly after the hour mark to seal the points – despite Jon Welsh’s last-minute try.

Leigh Halfpenny opened the scoring from the tee, after Blair Cowan was guilty of not rolling away, but the first try belonged to the hosts.

Vern Cotter’s side are fast becoming known for their willingness to play the expansive rugby not associated with the Scotland of old, but this score was a product of old-fashioned defensive graft.

Finn Russell’s turnover inside their own half caught Wales off guard and once the ball found Hogg on the left touchline he had space to streak into the visitors’ half, out-pace Richard Hibbard and coast towards the line.

Laidlaw added the extras and could have been forgiven for expecting another conversion soon after – but once Alex Dunbar had picked a great line his pass was too high for Mark Bennett, who had the whitewash begging.

The Scotland captain did add three points shortly after but Halfpenny returned the favour on 20 minutes after Cowan again failed to roll away in time.

Handed the opportunity for a third penalty from close-range, Wales instead opted for touch five minutes later – a decision that back-fired when Scotland did well to disrupt the resulting maul and clear to safety.

Tempers flared for the first time on the half-hour mark when the two fly-halves clashed, Dan Biggar leaping to claim a high ball and hitting the deck hard after colliding with a grounded Russell below.

The Scot saw yellow for dangerous play, taking him through the half-time in the sin bin, and Halfpenny this time pointed to the uprights, duly reducing the deficit to just one.

Wales were soon ahead, breaking from inside their own half and switching the play from right flank to left before Liam Williams – starting in place of George North on the wing – fed Webb on the inside to cross over.

Halfpenny’s touchline conversion made it 16-10 but it wasn’t long before Wales found themselves also down to 14 men, Davies earning ten minutes in the bin for taking out Johnnie Beattie in the air.

And it was the hosts who finished the half stronger, battering down the Welsh line only for the half-time whistle to arrive too soon.

Laidlaw drew first blood of the second half, accurate from the tee after Dunbar’s turnover earned Scotland a penalty at the breakdown.

Halfpenny followed suit – in off the right-hand post – but Laidlaw soon cut the lead to three once more, not long after Taulupe Faletau and Webb had conspired to knock on and waste a dangerous stolen scrum in the Scotland half.

Webb didn’t waste his next opportunity, peeling stealthily off the back of a rolling maul and feeding Williams to cross the whitewash, but – after consulting the TMO – referee Glen Jackson ruled that Jake Ball and Alun Wyn Jones were both guilty of obstruction.

Halfpenny blemished his perfect record from the tee shortly after but Davies ensured that didn’t linger too long in the memory, bursting through to score from close range for a converted score.

A Bennett break roused the BT Murrayfield crowd but, after receiving an unrelenting barrage from the Scottish heavies, Wales’ defence held firm on their own line for a full five minutes.

That took the game into the final ten and Hogg was next to steam clear, feeding Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – after he was tackled, Bennett scooped up the loose ball and scored but the replacement scrum-half was adjudged to have knocked on in the contact.

They did eventually get that second try, courtesy of pack power – Welsh powering over for the score – but after Russell added the extras there was no time for a winner.

wal_logoScotland – 23
Tries: Hogg, Hamilton
Cons: Russell 2
Pens: Russell 3
Yellow Card: Russell

Wales – 26
Tries: Webb, Davies
Cons: Halfpenny 2
Pens: Halfpenny 4
Yellow Card: Davies

RR World Rankings outcome on Result 26-23 Win to Wales

SCO (on 78.25 points) at home -vs- WAL (on 80.63 points)

RESULT Rating Point
Will SCO
overtake WAL?
Wales win by 3pts 1.062 77.19 81.69 No

The Teams:

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Alasdair Strokosch, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Greig Tonks, 23 Matt Scott

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Paul James, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Scott Williams.

Date: Sunday 15 February 2015
Venue: BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZRU, 1st RBS 6 Nations game)
Assistant : George Clancy, Dudley Phillips (IRFU)
TMO: George Clancy, Dudley Phillips (IRFU)



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