A draw would have been the the fairest result but that would have robbed Scotland of a Grand Slam chance their approach to the game deserved. England won't be going to Murrayfield in two weeks to play an expansive game so the Scots still have a big hurdle, but they'll be the better for yesterday's scare. What England will have learned is that Scotland can be slowed down. Wales did it by being quick into the tackle and restricting their use of second-phase ball.
Gregor Townsend scored a great try that is so typical of his darting strength but he did not have a good game generally, and some loose kicking put his side under pressure. They need him to be much more efficient.
It was fast and exciting, and because of that it lived up to expectations. But there were a lot of basic errors, like players running into each other, that both teams will want to study on video. The quicker the pace of the game the cooler your head has to be. Wales, particularly, suffered from this in the first half.
After Scotland dominated the first 20 minutes, Wales came back to take charge of the second 20 and might have scored twice. Both moves involved Justin Thomas at the crucial stage. Had Wayne Proctor stayed on his wing in one, I feel Justin would have gone over. In the other, after a great burst by Ieuan Evans, Justin came into the line brilliantly but should have given a quick pass to Proctor. He wasn't to know, however, that Ian Smith was about to hit him with a great tackle.
Proctor learned from his mistakes, stayed on his wing and came in at a super angle to score that late try. Scoring tries like that, even if they are to no avail, is bound to build confidence. The way Wales created space among the backs was encouraging and the centres passed the ball very well. Kevin Howley had another good game with his dashing and probing style.
Arwel Thomas controlled things better than against England but he has to learn to commit the opposition more so that they have to pay more attention to him. He put himself in an excellent position to drop a goal at a crucial stage of the second half but he rushed his kick. He would have been a hero had that last conversion gone over. It wasn't a kick anyone would relish, but it is all great experience for him.
The forwards did well again and defended like giants. Their finest play was in the line-outs, where Gareth Llewellyn had his best game for Wales. Derwyn Jones was not far behind him.
Wales are still on a losing run, unfortunately. But once more they have come out of a match with more plus points than the opposition. The rewards are bound to come soon.Reuse content