Report | Scotland 35-7 Wales
Scotland equalled their highest ever score against Wales – posted 99 years ago – and achieved their biggest winning margin into the bargain as they blitzed their “second game” hoodoo in the Guinness Six Nations Championship in style before a capacity crowd at BT Murrayfield tonight.
Captain Jamie Ritchie received the Doddie Weir Cup from Doddie’s widow Kathy as Scotland piled on 22 unanswered second-half points. They ran in five tries in total through George Turner, Kyle Steyn (2), Blair Kinghorn and Matt Fagerson and the man pulling the strings was Finn Russell, in arguably his most influential Championship display at home since 2018 against England.
Thus, Scotland followed up last weekend’s Twickenham heroics and now have 15 days to ready themselves for the French in Paris, doubtless smarting from their defeat to Ireland in Dublin.
Scotland won at home against Wales for only the fourth time since Five became Six in the Championship in 2000, following their wins in 2003, 2007 and 2017.
An emotional build-up to the game as Scottish Rugby remembered Scotland internationalists Ken Scotland and Stan Coughtrie and Welsh prop Charlie Faulkner who have all passed away.
And the match-ball, cycled from Cardiff by the ranks of 180 massed cyclists in aid of Doddie Aid, was presented by Rob Wainwright, the former Scotland captain, to Scottish Rugby’s patron, HRH The Princess Royal.
Jamie Ritchie and Ken Owens were then grateful recipients and with the crowd in raucous voice the match was underway.
Scotland kicked off towards the Roseburn end of the ground and enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.
Off a lineout take by Richie Gray and a thumping driving maul with Turner orchestrating, Sione Tuipulotu released Huw Jones on a short ball in midfield.
Jones romped 50 metres, Liam Williams made the tackle but Scotland recycled and Russell’s steepling crosskick was palmed back volleyball style by Steyn. Scotland kept possession, with a penalty advantage in the can, and though Stuart Hogg was well policed from Russell’s further prompting, referee Andrew Brace brought proceedings back to the penalty. Russell goaled (3-0, 7 mins).
Ben White had made a lively start and one thrust down the West Stand touchline had the crowd purring in approval.
And after he did well to reignite an attack and have Zander Fagerson truck on, Wales were penalised for not rolling away at the ruck and Russell was on target again (6-0, 13 mins).
Scotland continued to appear the more threatening though Wales were dominant in territory. A Dan Biggar penalty for a scrum infringement, however, was pushed wide, so as yet they had nothing to show for it.
As it was, Scotland grabbed the game’s first try. Russell had fired them to within seven metres of the Welsh line and from Gray’s lineout pouch, the rolling maul manoeuvred menacingly for Turner to explode at pace and thunder through two tackles to claim the touchdown, verified by the TMO. It was his ninth try for Scotland. Russell converted (13-0, 31 mins).
Frustratingly, Scotland didn’t collect the kick-off and then Turner found himself on the debit side of the action, as he was yellow carded for a high tackle on George North, who then departed for an HIA.
Wales sought to turn the screw, and from a penalty against Zander Fagerson for loitering on the deck, Biggar opted for the lineout. Adam Beard caught and the driving maul bequeathed a try for captain Owens. Biggar converted (13-7, 35 mins).
Half-time: Scotland 13 Wales 7
Half-time saw the first Scotland Women’s international team from 1993 honoured, along with all 233 players to have worn the thistle in international rugby, including three players sadly no longer with us: Victoria Galbraith, Keri Holdsworth and Siobhan Cattigan.
Women’s Rugby World Cup final referee Hollie Davidson also took the warm applause.
Turner returned on 42 minutes, but Scotland were still toiling to put together continuity.
A lineout against the throw inside their own 22, however, enabled Blair Kinghorn to put on the afterburners and Russell to fire Scotland into the Welsh 22.
A thumping lineout drive and Turner was almost over but spilled the ball forward.
Scotland now were in the ascendant and Wales conceded penalties as the touchline was Scotland’s friend, as first Gray, and then Grant Gilchrist, provided.
Scotland went through the phases and as they attacked right, Russell sniffed an opening and then embellished it with the most sumptuous offload to Steyn who was over in the corner. Russell converted majestically from the touchline (20-7, 51mins).
Scotland looked to go for the jugular now and when Wales were penalised anew in their own 22, Liam Williams was sent to the sin bin.
The hosts’ third try followed a familiar script. Turner found Gilchrist at the lineout. Cue driving maul. White to Russell – beautifully weighted cross-field kick- and Steyn (who you’ll remember had scored four tries against Tonga last season – was half-way there today! Russell missed the conversion (25-7, 58 mins).
Wales rallied, but Scotland’s defence was resolute and even with Williams restored, the visitors could make no inroads.
Instead, it was Scotland who claimed a glorious bonus point fourth try.
Duhan Van Der Merwe, who had looked dangerous every time ball had come his way, was uncorked by another kick from the Russell box of tricks, but it was the big man’s inside pass to Blair Kinghorn that had the stadium absolutely rocking. What a try! Russell missed the conversion. (30-7, 71 mins).
If there was any doubt that Russell was the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation Player of the Match, he just had enough time to serve up a wee reminder.
From George Horne’s pass on the narrow side of a ruck, Russell fired an exquisite miss-pass to the Duracell bunny that is Matt Fagerson, for a richly deserved try. (35-7, 78 mins).
Wales had one last throw of the dice but Scotland won a turnover and Russell smashed the ball into the East Stand.
Full-time: Scotland 35 Wales 7.
Scotland: Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs); Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu (all Glasgow Warriors), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby); Finn Russell (Racing 92), Ben White (London Irish); Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby), George Turner, Zander Fagerson , Richie Gray all Glasgow Warriors) Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie captain, Luke Crosbie (all Edinburgh Rugby), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors)
Subs: Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) for Crosbie (37-42 mins) and for Turner (58 mins), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) for Schoeman (60 mins), WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) for Zander Fagerson (60 mins), Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) for Gilchrist (60 mins), Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors) for Crosbie (44 mins), George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) for White (58 mins)Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) for Hogg (13 mins), Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby) for Tuipulotu (71 mins).
Wales: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, George North, Joe Hawkins, Rio Dyer; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens captain, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Adam Beard, Christ Tshiunza, Tommy Reffell and Jac Morgan
Subs: Scott Baldwin for Owens (60 mins), Rhys Carre for Wyn Jones (53 mins), Leon Brown for Lewis (60 mins), Rhys Davies for Jenkins (63 mins), Taulupe Faletau for Morgan (53 mins), Rhys Webb for Williams (56 mins, Rhys Patchell for Biggar (56 mins) and Alex Cuthbert (for North 32-40mins).
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland). Assistant referees: Frank Murphy and Chris Busby (both Ireland). TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland).
Yellow cards: George Turner (Scotland) and Liam Williams (Wales).
My Name’5 Doddie Foundation Player of the Match: Finn Russell (Scotland)