Williams gives Wales a precious win

Scotland 6 Wales 24: Veteran wing sickens Scotland side suffering from star second row's withdrawal with stomach bug

Scotland are making a habit of letting Wales off the hook. A year ago in Cardiff they contrived to snatch a 31-24 defeat from the jaws of a 24-14 lead with three minutes of time remaining. This time they got their capitulation in early.

With eight minutes on the clock yesterday teatime, Scotland's stand-offish defence ushered James Hook through and Wales's back of all trades – starting his first international at stand-off for almost two years – accepted the opportunity to tee-up Shane Williams for the first of his two tries. There followed 11 points from the right boot of Hook in the next 14 minutes, through a conversion and three penalties. And that was just about that: game, set and match to Warren Gatland's underachievers.

From 16-0 up, Hook, Williams and Co could afford to coast to a victorythat will ease the pressure on themselves and on their head coach. In the final quarter Hook kicked a fourth penalty and Williams touched down his 53rd try for his country. All of which added up to a fortnight of breathing space for Gatland and Wales before they head to Rome.

"We've been under the pump with our backs to the wall a bit but it's how you come out fighting that counts," Gatland said. "When the boys put on David Bowie's [and Queen's] 'Under Pressure' on the bus, you had to laugh. I haven't been able to get that song out of my head for the past two days."

It was Wales's first win in nine matches, since a 33-10 success against Italy in Cardiff at the end of last year's Six Nations. It was achieved with an ease that pained Andy Robinson, Scotland's head coach. His team had a two-man advantage towards the end of the first half, with Bradley Davies and Lee Byrne in the bin of sin, but all they could manage was a Dan Parks penalty.

Having run in three tries against France in Paris the previous Saturday, Scotland failed to cross the whitewash on home ground. All they could manage in the second half was a second Parks penalty. "That was unacceptable," Robinson said. "We made too many errors, particularly in those first 20 minutes. We've gone a couple of steps back today."

The first backward step came before kick-off, with the withdrawal from the home XV of the second-row forward Richie Gray. The Glasgow player was suffering from an upset stomach and without him there was a queasy feeling about Scotland's play from the off, some wayward kicking out of hand from Parks and Hugo Southwell doing nothing to settle them.

It was after a Parks kick had been charged down by the prop Paul James that Wales launched the attack that led to their breakthrough score. The No 8 Ryan Jones provided the initial momentum with a break from the back of a scrum some 35 metres out and after stretching play out left and then out right Hook jinked over the gain line, handing off the Scotland loosehead prop, Allan Jacobsen, and eluding the grasp of the scrum-half, Rory Lawson, before feeding the ball to Williams, who ran under the posts unopposed.

Hook kicked the conversion and followed up with three penalties as Scotland struggled to get a grip at the breakdown – and elsewhere, for that matter. With 22 minutes on the clock they were 16-0 down and by that stage they were without Southwell, the Stade Français full-back having left the field after taking a boot in the face while challenging for a garryowen with Byrne.

The Irish referee, George Clancy, kept his yellow card close to his chest until Sean Lamont, Southwell's replacement, went on a charge up the right in the 24th minute. Davies came into the side of a ruck and hoofed the ball clear. Four minutes later the Cardiff Blues lock had company in the cooler after Byrne lassoed Max Evans with a neck-high tackle. Still, Wales got off cheaply. Parks kicked one penalty but slipped while attempting another, leaving the visitors 16-3 up at the interval.

The second half was little more than a formality. It might have been different had the Scotland openside, John Barclay, not spilled the ball with Evans free on the overlap in the 63rd minute. As it was, Wales remained in the comfort zone, Williams scoring his second try after gathering a chip from the centre Jonathan Davies.

Scotland H Southwell (S Lamont, 21); N Walker, N De Luca, M Evans; D Parks, R Lawson (M Blair, 47); A Jacobsen, R Ford (S Lawson, 67), E Murray (M Low, 47), N Hines, A Kellock (capt; S MacLeod, 71), K Brown, R Vernon, J Barclay.

Wales L Byrne (R Priestland, 76); M Stoddart, J Roberts, J Davies, S Williams; J Hook (S Jones, 67), M Phillips (T Knoyle, 76); P James, M Rees (capt; R Hibbard, 70), C Mitchell), B Davies, AW Jones (J Turnbull, 72), D Lydiate (J Thomas, 54), R Jones, S Warburton.

Referee G Clancy (Ireland).

Scotland

Pens: Parks 2

Wales

Tries: Williams 2

Con: Hook

Pens: Hook 4

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice