Planet Rugby

Wales back to winning ways

12th February 2011 12:43

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shane williams scotland v wales

Heart-breaker: Shane Williams opens the scoring for Wales

Wales ended their eight-Test winless drought thanks to a scrappy 24-6 Six Nations victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Under-fire coach Warren Gatland will be relieved after his team did enough to upset the formbook and put their championship campaign back on track.

Recent results suggested that the odds were against the Welsh having triumphed just twice in their last 14 games, but Gatland's troops - at one stage down to just 13 players - did enough in the opening quarter of the match to rain on Scotland's parade.

Wonder wing Shane Williams ran in two tries and fly-half James Hook scored the rest of the points, kicking four penalties, a conversion and creating the first try in a fine all-round performance.

Scotland, who went into the contest with high hopes after opening their Six Nations campaign with a brave display against France, could only muster six points through the boot of Dan Parks.

Coach Andy Robinson cut a frustrated figure as a mistake-riddled Scottish performance underlined their chronic lack of consistency. The hosts have now lost two from two this season and could end up in a battle with Italy to avoid the wooden spoon.

The visitors enjoyed a strong start - surging towards the Scotland try-line just after the five-minute mark - and took the lead through a Williams try.

Hook, starting in the number ten jersey for the first time in two years, broke through the defence to play in his Ospreys team-mate for a simple try, which he then duly converted.

Hook then extended the advantage in the 14th minute as he slotted home a penalty from the right after the hosts had been penalised for strolling offsides. And the 25-year-old made it 13-0 just after 18 minutes were in the clock when he nailed another penalty after Scotland had come in from the side at a ruck.

Scotland full-back Hugo Southwell was then taken off the pitch with blood poring from his face after catching a boot when challenging opposite number Lee Byrne. He would not return.

Another infringement at the breakdown then allowed Hook to score his third penalty, but Scotland were given a boost when Bradley Davies was yellow carded for cynically kicking the ball away from a dangerous ruck.

And when Byrne took out Max Evans with a dangerously high tackle, Scotland were given a two-man advantage.

The ever-reliable Parks got Scotland on the board after Dan Lydiate had conceded a penalty but they would have wanted more then three points by the time Byrne re-entered the fray to even the numbers.

Parks then slipped as he was attempting another kick at goal after Wales prop Craig Mitchell failed to bind at the scrum, leaving the scoreline 16-3 at the half-time interval.

After the restart, Hook attempted to increase the advantage with an attempt from almost 50 metres, but although his kick had the legs it drifted just wide.

Parks reduced the arrears by another three points after Wales were penalised for hinging down at a scrum as the contest became more and more scrappy.

Wales centre Jamie Roberts was on his way to killing the game off as he raced towards the line after Scotland gave the ball up but Sean Lamont made a terrific try-saving tackle.

The visitors came away with three points, however, as Hook kicked his third penalty and shortly afterwards Williams ran onto a Jonathan Davies kick to touch down again and put the result beyond doubt.

It is now a case of back to the drawing board for Scotland after arguably their worst performance of Robinson's reign, which came just three days after he signed a contract extension to incorporate the 2015 World Cup.

Man of the match: Group effort. The Wales back row of Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton and Ryan Jones were a key element in the visitors' defensive effort - especially when the Welsh were down to thirteen men. The triumvirate were tireless at the tackle area and completely outplayed their highly-rated Scottish counterparts.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Pens: Parks 2

For Wales:
Tries: Williams 2
Cons: Hook
Pens: Hook 4

Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Max Evans, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Rosss Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Moray Low, 18 Scott Macleod, 19 Ross Rennie, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Sean Lamont.

Wales: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Morgan Stoddart, 13 Jamie Roberts, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Shane Williams, 10 James Hook, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 John Yapp, 18 Jonathan Thomas, 19 Josh Turnbull , 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Stephen Jones, 22 Rhys Priestland.

Referee:George Clancy (Ireland)

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