Scotland 16 Wales 18: Wales denied as Scotland rally to claim World Cup spot

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The Independent Online

Scotland lost the battle on the day, but won the right to play in next year's World Cup by beating favourites Wales to qualify on aggregate. Seven points ahead from their victory in Bridgend last year, the Scots hung on to win a tense, dour match in Glasgow, in which Wales created most of the chances.

"I've never been so pleased to lose a game," said Steve McCormack, relieved coach. "We were the underdogs in everybody's eyes, but whenever you come into camp with these guys, you find they are very proud people."

The Welsh led comfortably by 10 points at half-time, thanks to tries from Luke Dyer and Adam Hughes, but the second half belonged largely to the Scots, with a side drawn mainly from Super League clubs. The Hull KR hooker, Ben Fisher, got over for one try, and after Wales had gone close on a number of occasions, the vital score came seven minutes from time, through Jamie Benn, who scored after Mick Nanyn slipped a pass out as he was bundled into touch, and Andy Todd got his foot to the ball.

When it was too late, Wales finally broke down the Scottish defence through Damien Gibson. On the whole, however, their potentially match-winning combination of Iestyn Harris and Lee Briers was kept quiet and ineffective.

Wales must now hope to qualify by beating Lebanon, who were knocked out by Ireland, at Widnes on Friday, and then the winners of the Samoa and USA match. Whether a battered and disappointed Welsh team can manage that must be open to considerable doubt, especially with Briers taken to hospital with a lower leg injury after this game.

"We had our opportunities in this game, and the last game, and we didn't take them," said their coach, Martin Hall. "Now we have to re-group and get ready for the Lebanese."

Scotland: Liddell; Benn, K Henderson, Nanyn, Todd, Patterson, Brough; Jackson, Fisher, Wilkes, Morrison, MacGillivray, Fletcher. Substitutes used: Lynn, Marsh, Lowe, A Henderson.

Wales: Halley; Blackwood, Dyer, Hughes, Gibson, Harris, Briers; Cushion, Webster, Dean, M James, Roberts, Joseph. Substitutes used: Penkywicz, J James, Kopczak, Bracek.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).

Who will be there in 2008

There are 10 places available for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup which will be held in Australia:

Qualifiers: Hosts Australia; Automatic Qualifiers: New Zealand, England, Papua New Guinea, France; Pacific qualifying group runner up: Fiji; Pacific qualifying group winner: Tonga; Europe group 2 winner: Ireland; Europe group 1 winner: Scotland; plus one from Lebanon, Wales, USA, Samoa.