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Scotland rewrite history books in Cardiff

MATCH REPORT: Scotland pulled a hat out of the bag and hung on for dear life to win their opening Six Nations Round One encounter by 27-26 over Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

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Scotland won in Cardiff for the first time since 2002.

The game started with an early kicking contest between the two flyhalves.

It was a pretty good start from Wales, two mistakes from Gareth Davies, but they were keeping the ball in hand and showing some continuity and no-one was giving an inch.

Six minutes into the game Scotland struck first. That was bread and butter for a kicker of Finn Russell’s class.

He already went for the cross-field kick a couple of times, just like in last year’s Six Nations and he certainly planned to give the Wales’ back three a busy game.

And then a powerful drive by Scotland’s Pierre Schoeman, without his regular long locks, scored the first try under the posts.

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It started with a break by Kyle Rowe who glided past two defenders, Kyle Steyn carried in field and Schoeman rounded the move off.

Poor discipline by Wales gave Scotland a way in with three penalties in the opening seven minutes.

Wales improved their tactical kicking but in the first 20 minutes, it just yielded cheap possession to the Scots.

Scotland was out to bag every point they could get, with the Cardiff hoodoo in their minds.

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After half an hour of play, it was Scotland leading by 13-0.

Unfortunately, the one-dimensional Wales made it too easy for the visitors.

It was that maestro Russell again, sending the big wing Duhann van der Merwe over for Scotland’s second try. The flyhalf ghosted through the gap and the two-on-one freed up the giant Van der Merwe to go over.

Scotland went into half-time leading by 20-0.

Carnage was on the cards for Wales as Van der Merwe trotted in for his second try of the night in the opening minutes of the second half, taking their tally to 27-0 after Russell converted.

Finally, the Welsh supporters had something to celebrate as they drove from a line-out, and the Welsh Dragons pack drove over. James Botham was the one to dot down.

It coincided with a yellow card for Scotland hooker George Turner for foul play.

The numerical advantage helped to rejuvenate Wales, and they scored their second try in the corner minutes later, closing the gap to 12-27.

The Scot’s feathers were ruffled and Wales got a new injection. All of a sudden Scotland were forced to defend their try-line.

And then another yellow card was pulled from the referee’s pocket, this time sending Sione Tuipulotu to the sin-bin, and to be fair, he paid the price for his team’s collapse.

Tomos Williams injected new energy into the Wales side as they managed to close the gap to 19-27 with just 15 minutes to go scoring three tries in 14 minutes.

At times it looked like a Sevens match as the game completely opened up.

Wales coach Warren Gatland had to give one massive speech at half-time. It was a completely different Wales side in the second half.

They scored their bonus point try in the 70th minute and Wales were red hot as they closed the gap to 26-27 and spurned on by the singing crowd of Cardiff.

Scotland was a shambles in the second half, allowing Wales to cross the gain-line which made a world of difference to the backs.

But they recovered enough to challenge the try-line with ten seconds to go.

A possible try by Van der Merwe was deemed to have been held up on a foot of a Welsh player.

But Scotland did enough to secure a win.

Man of the Match: Aaron Wainwright sparked Wales to resurrect themselves in the second half, also scoring a try in their fight back into the game.

Scorers:

For Wales:
Tries: Botham, Dyer, Wainwright, Mann
Cons: Lloyd 3

For Scotland:
Tries: Schoeman, Van der Merwe 2
Cons: Russell 3
Pens: Russell 2

Yellow card: George Turner (Scotland – 47’ foul play), Sione Tuipulotu (Scotland – 60’ off-side)

Teams:

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 James Botham, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Dafydd Jenkins (captain), 3 Leon Brown, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Corey Domachowski.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Kemsley Mathias, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 Teddy Williams, 20 Alex Mann, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Mason Grady.

Scotland: 15 Kyle Rowe, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell (captain), 9 Ben White, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Luke Crosbie, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 George Horne, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Cameron Redpath.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

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