Leigh Halfpenny scored 22 points as Wales claimed a 27-13 Six Nations win over Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday.
Leigh Halfpenny scored 22 points as Wales claimed a 27-13 Six Nations victory over Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday.
The scores were locked at 3-3 at half-time but a fifteen-minute spell early in the second period saw Wales score three tries to build an unassailable lead.
The result at the end of an exciting, high-paced clash will leave Wales brimming with confidence as they head to Twickenham in a fortnight looking to claim the Triple Crown.
Scotland, meanwhile, will head home harbouring a number of regrets after a handful of errors spoiled what was otherwise a strong performance.
Both sides made their intentions to play an open game very clear from the first whistle but two well-organised defences ensured that a breathless first quarter ended scoreless.
Scotland finally broke the deadlock when Greig Laidlaw landed a penalty after an impressive 20-phase build up from the visitors.
A well-struck penalty from Halfpenny drew the hosts level at 3-all and the scoreboard remained unchanged until half time, despite a prolonged period of pressure from the Scots.
Wales were dealt a blow just before the break as in-form George North was forced off with a knee injury but his wing partner Alex Cuthbert got the hosts off to the prefect start in the second period by running straight through Laidlaw's attempted tackle to score.
The Scots only had themselves to blame as they had handed Wales a golden opportunity by making a hash of the restart and the visitors were guilty of another crucial mistake when Nick De Luca tackled Jonathan Davies without the ball to earn a yellow card.
Halfpenny split the uprights in a nightmare spell for Scotland, who had coughed up ten points in five minutes.
Laidlaw managed to reduce the deficit with his second three-pointer but Scotland were still trailing 13-6 and a were man down.
And the extra player proved crucial as Wales were able to move the ball from one touchline to the other until they had the overlap and Halfpenny could cruise over, before converting his own try.
Things went from bad to worse for the men in blue as Wales cut loose and Rory Lamont was his given marching orders for making a tackle from an offside position.
The game was essentially over were when Mike Phillips' offload found Halfpenny in acres of space down the blindside, giving the full-back had an easy run-in for his second try.
Any hopes Scotland had of fighting back looked to have been scuffed when referee Romain Poite incorrectly adjudged that Stuart Hogg had knocked on before scoring, but Laidlaw had no such worries when he found a gap on the side of ruck to snatch Scotland's first try in five games.
But it wasn't enough to trouble the home side and few would deny that Wales were deserved winners as they had the better of the closing minutes to secure a convincing win.
Man of the match: A number of candidates here and Leigh Halfpenny's contribution is difficult to look past. But the official gong went to flank Dan Lydiate, who had a storming game, carrying well and tackling tirelessly.
Moment of the match: It was anyone's game at half-time but Scotland's two yellow cards in the space of eight minutes left them with too much work to do against a free-running Welsh side.
Villain of the match: No rough stuff to report in an excellent game.
Tries: Cuthbert, Halfpenny 2
Cons: Halfpenny 3
Pens: Halfpenny 3
Pens: Laidlaw 2
Yellow cards: De Luca (Scotland – 45th min – tackle without ball); R. Lamont (Scotland – 53rd min – professional foul); Jenkins (Wales – 77th min –
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Aaron Shingler, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Ryan Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Lou Reed, 19 Andy Powell, 20 Lloyd Williams, 21 James Hook, 22 Scott Williams.
Scotland: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Sean Lamont, 11 Max Evans, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 David Denton, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Ed Kalman, 18 Alastair Kellock, 19 John Barclay, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Stuart Hogg.
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
TMO: Giulio De Santis (Italy)