By Sarah Mockford at Millennium Stadium
The match in 30 seconds
A tie that was supposed to have only pride riding on it turned into a one-sided Test when Stuart Hogg was sent off after 23 minutes. The Scotland full-back was first yellow-carded for a late challenge on Dan Biggar before the referee reviewed footage on the big screen, saw that Hogg had led with his shoulder and changed the card to red. Wales ran in seven tries, George North and Jamie Roberts both scoring two, to record their biggest Six Nations win.
Wales – Tries: L Williams, North 2, Roberts 2, Faletau, R Williams Cons: Biggar 4, Hook. Pens: Biggar 2.
Scotland – Pen: Laidlaw.
– Wales ran nearly twice as many metres as Scotland – 544 to 294 – with George North top of the charts on 124.
– Surprisingly the Scots had more territory (58%) and possession (55%) and made more ball carries (127 to 117).
– Wales locks Alun Wyn Jones (14) and Luke Charteris (12) topped the tackle count while David Denton made most carries 16.
– Scotland’s lineout success rate was 81% – they lost three on their own throw.
– Stuart Hogg became only the third Scot to be sent off in a Test match, after Nathan Hines and Scott Murray.
– Wales’ Sam Warburton dislocated his shoulder in the win and could miss the summer tour, while Scotland captain Kelly Brown’s head injury is being assessed.
– Wales broke free of their shackles in this game but it’s hard to take too much from the performance given they were playing against 14 men for 60 minutes. In fact, it could easily paper over the cracks.
– On their two-Test summer tour to South Africa they need to show a more varied game plan. They won’t necessarily be able to outmuscle the Boks, so being more creative and not being afraid to run the ball rather than kick it should be high on the agenda.
– Building depth will also be on Warren Gatland’s to-do list, particularly in the front row, at scrum-half and at No 8. That doesn’t necessarily mean throwing in lots of new starters but giving people experience from the bench.
– Scotland will have new coach Vern Cotter at the helm for their four summer Tests – they play USA, Canada, Argentina and South Africa – and the Kiwi will want to assess the players at his disposal.
– The early games in North America are a prime opportunity to see if the likes of Dougie Fife, Jonny Gray and Tim Swinson can cut it at international level.
– It’s not been a happy Six Nations for Scotland and while the margin of defeat here was distorted by Hogg’s red card early on, Cotter’s priority will be to improve the lineout functionality, cut the error count and ensure Scotland can match teams physically.
RW’s proposed Wales XV v South Africa: Liam Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North; James Hook, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Ken Owens, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau.
Leigh Halfpenny will miss the summer tour with injury so Liam Williams keeps his place at 15 while Hook comes in at ten. Hook ticks the creativity box ahead of Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland. This front row gets a chance to gain more experience leading up to the World Cup while Ball’s extra bulk means he gets the nod over Luke Charteris and Tipuric replaces Sam Warburton if he’s ruled out by injury. It would also be good for Wales to test out a few up-and-coming backs – Hallam Amos, Jordan Williams or Owen Williams perhaps – from the bench.
RW’s proposed Scotland XV v USA: Sean Maitland; Dougie Fife, Alex Dunbar, Matt Scott, Tim Visser; Duncan Weir, Chris Cusiter; Ryan Grant, Scott Lawson, Euan Murray, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray, Kelly Brown, Chris Fusaro, David Denton.
Maitland and Visser, providing they both return from injury, provide a big threat in the back three while Cusiter starts at nine after providing an extra spark from the bench in the Six Nations. Swinson and the younger Gray get experience in the engine room against a side the Scots should overpower physically while Fusaro’s snaffling ability at seven can aid their attack.