By Owain Jones, Rugby World Editor
In a nutshell: The first-half was full of incident and endeavour yet little to show on the scoreboard, with both sides going in at the break 3-3. The game came to life in the second-half when Alex Cuthbert crashed over the whitewash within two minutes of the restart. Scotland went further behind through two Leigh Halfpenny tries in five minutes with Nick de Luca and Rory Lamont sin-binned for tackling players off the ball. To their credit, the Scots came back strong in the final quarter and scored for the first time in five games through Greig Laidlaw who plopped over from a yard. Unfortunately for Andy Robinson and co, the Welsh defence held firm and there was no way back leaving the Scots with more soul-searching.
Key moment: Alex Cuthbert’s opening try on 42 minutes. With Wales feeling the heat from Scotland early in the second-half and the game finely poised at 3-3, Chris Cusiter failed to deal with a drop out and helped the ball into touch with his boot. The resulting lineout gave Wales field position deep in Scotland’s half and after pressure from Wales on Scotland’s try line, Scotland defensive line was stretched across the park. Sensing an opportunity, James Hook delivered a pop pass to Cuthbert and the giant wing brushed off Greig Laidlaw’s feeble tackle to crash over for his first try. Wales had daylight and the visitors resolve was broken.
Star man: Dan Lydiate may have recieved the official MOTM for another gargantuan shift on the blindside but I’m plumping for Leigh Halfpenny. He maybe the smallest Wales back by several inches and a couple of stone, but there is no more important player to Warren Gatland at the moment. Twenty-two points; including two tries and six out seven kicks, underlined the fact that the 23-year-old Cardiff Blues player is currently indispensable to the Wales cause.
Room for improvement: Indiscipline cost Andy Robinson’s men dear. With the game finely poised, Nick De Luca and Rory Lamont were both sin-binned within minutes of each other for tackling players off the ball and Wales capitalized with 17 points in as many minutes. An embattled Andy Robinson knows all too well that his side try-shy troops can ill afford to do that against a side of Wales’ potency.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland: “It’s a good sign that we can lose some key players and just keep our head and not let it affect us. We know how young this team is but there’s a lot of maturity being shown in the side.”
Scotland head coach, Andy Robinson: “I’m proud of the way the team’s gone out to play the game,” Robinson said. “We played very well and we’re hurting and disappointed.”
Scotland completed 254 passes to Wales’ 154
Wales made 178 tackles to Scotland’s 99, both sides has a 91% success rate
Wales won three turnovers to Scotland’s one
Match highlights http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/16967771
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts (Scott Williams 78), George North (James Hook 39), Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips (Lloyd Williams 75), Gethin Jenkins, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones (Paul James 73), Ian Evans, Ryan Jones (Lou Reed 75), Dan Lydiate (Andy Powell 73), Toby Faletau, Aaron Shingler
Scotland: Rory Lamont, Lee Jones, Nick de Luca, Sean Lamont, Max Evans (Stuart Hogg 16), Greig Laidlaw, Chris Cusiter (Mike Blair 48), Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford (Scott Lawson 72), Geoff Cross (Ed Kalman 58), Richie Gray, Jim Hamilton (Al Kellock 58), Alasdair Strokosch (John Barclay 44), Ross Rennie, David Denton
Millennium Stadium attendance: 73,189