Wales rout Scottish rabble
Wales finished their Six Nations campaign on a victorious note, beating Scotland 51-3 in a seven-try rout in Cardiff on Saturday.
The game had the appearance of being a contest for the first 20 minutes, but once the Scots were reduced to 14 men – after fullback Stuart Hogg was red-carded for a dangerous, late tackle on Dan Biggar – the Welsh simply had too much firepower for a Scottish team already stretched.
It is unlikely the rabble Scots would have won, but the margin may not have blown out to the extend it did if they retained their full quota of players for the entire match.
Having lost the title even before Saturday's kick-off, Wales at least finished with a flourish.
However, the result means Scott Johnson's reign as Scotland coach has ended in ignominy – the team in far worse condition now after his departure than it was when he arrived in 2012.
Greig Laidlaw (fourth minute) and Dan Biggar (ninth minute) exchanged early penalties, before Liam Williams got the opening try of the match – the Wales attacking in waves, mostly with the forwards, till the Scots ran out of defenders out wide, with quick hands putting the fullback over. Bigger added the conversion to make it 10-3 after 16 minutes.
After just 22 minutes Scotland were reduce to 14 men – French referee Jérôme Garcès first issuing a yellow card to Scottish fullback Stuart Hogg after a dangerous late charge on Welsh flyhalf Dan Biggar, but after watching the replay on the big screen, recalled the player ands changed it to a red card.
It was indeed a first – a referee changing his initial call.
Bigger dusted himself off after copping a heavy blow to the chin and kicked the penalty to make it 13-3.
Laidlaw missed two penalty shots at goal, before Wales made the Scots pay dearly for their errant ways – Liam Williams setting off after claiming a ball in the air and George North finishing the counter with a great try. Biggar made it 20-3.
In the final minute before the half-time break the Welsh back put on display their fine passing skills – Liam Williams, George North and Jonathan Davies combined to put Jamie Roberts over for the five-pointer. The Biggar conversion made it 27-3 at the break.
The second half was hardly two minutes old when North went over for his second (Wales' fourth) try, as the Scots continued to fall off the tackles at an alarming rate. The conversion attempt was wide of the mark – 32-3.
The rout continued when Jamie Roberts scored in the 48th minute, following a counter that started deep inside the Welsh 22 and coming from another Scottish mistake. Biggar made it 39-3.
Taulupe Faletau for the sixth try (after 52 minutes), before Scotland started putting up some sterner resistance and the Welsh attack became ever-more disjointed – with the replacements having come on in droves.
The game settled down to a pedestrian pace, before replacement scrumhalf Rhodri Williams slid over for the seventh try and James Hook added the conversion to take Wales past the half-ton mark, 51-3.
The game then drifted to its predictable end – Wales taking the win by a 48-point margin.
Man of the match: It would be unfair to single out individuals in a game like this – with most of the damage done by the Welsh backs. Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts and Dan Biggar all put up their hands. However, our award goes to Wales wing George North, for his damaging runs and try-assists in the first half.
Moment of the match: This is easy – when Stuart Hogg was red-carded in the 22nd minute the game immediately ended as a contest.
Villain of the match: Another easy decision. Stuart Hogg gets this brickbat for losing his head and deciding to use his shoulder as a weapon to attack the jaw of Dan Biggar long after the ball had departed.
Tries: L Williams, North 2, Roberts 2, Faletau, R Williams
Cons: Biggar 4, Hook
Pens: Biggar 2
Red card: Stuart Hogg (Scotland, 22 – foul play, late shoulder charge)
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Paul James, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 James Hook.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Max Evans , 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 David Denton, 7 Kelly Brown (captain), 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Alasdair Strokosch, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Greg Garner (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)