Scotland 21 Wales 9: Paterson hits Wales for seven

Jenkins' side toil to no avail as Scottish forwards provide platform for prolific goal-kicker
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The Independent Online

There is nothing wrong with a "Welsh Way", as the Wales coach Gareth Jenkins has dubbed his side's supposedly high-tempo game plan, unless it turns rudely into a meandering stagger down a cul-de-sac. No tries in their Six Nations opener at home to Ireland and none again here was a fate not suffered by Wales in any of their 11 matches in 2006. The Scottish way to win was with the boot, but Chris Paterson's championship-record equalling seven penalty goals were a reward for dominance at the set-piece and a more cleverly applied will to win.

So Frank Hadden, Jenkins's counterpart, moved further into credit with the Murrayfield crowd 19 months into his tenure, adding to the Six Nations wins here last year against France and England. The Scotland scrum, so weak against the English in a 42-20 defeat seven days previously, recovered in fine style. And Hadden selected wisely, recalling Scott Murray - a tartan St George to Wales's dragon many times before - to form with Jim Hamilton and then Nathan Hines a line-out combination which picked Wales's locks almost as they pleased.

Jenkins, by contrast, left Gavin Henson out of his 22 again, only to lose James Hook, the young pretender, at half-time with a dead leg. The replacement was the dangerously underplayed Tom Shanklin.

Wales worked field position early on with a chip by the scrum-half Dwayne Peel leading to Ryan Jones's dash to just short of the line. But the Edinburgh skies were darker than dawn, and that was a false one for Wales. They never got so close again.

"I want to say how proud I was of the performance," said Hadden. "We have a young and inexperienced side and the pressure was certainly on them. A number of people have been disparaging about the pack and I thought they very much proved a point."

Forced on the back foot, Wales's discipline was poor from the sixth minute, when they went offside after Chris Czekaj was bundled out of the way by Marcus Di Rollo under an up and under from Phil Godman. Paterson landed the kick and a much trickier effort on 17 minutes after Rhys Thomas failed to release. Paterson, the best kicker in the 2006 Six Nations percentage-wise, never missed.

Pre-match, he had accused Wales of being "cheats" at the breakdown. He got that spot on too, in so far as the Irish referee, Alan Lewis, hammered Wales with a penalty count of 15 to eight.

After Alun Wyn Jones caught Hugo Southwell in possession to allow Stephen Jones to halve Scotland's lead, there was a rare moment of penetration when the always dangerous centre Rob Dewey bundled his 17st frame past Peel. It needed Kevin Morgan's tackle to nail Dewey down.

All the way through it was punishingly attritional stuff to set before the Princess Royal, keeping the Windsors' end up here more serenely than Princes William and Harry at Twickenham. Paterson went "three from three" in the 36th minute, again for offside, although the Scots' captain would have preferred the try he narrowly missed out wide, fed by Di Rollo on the end of Godman's long pass. Stephen Jones chipped over again to make it 9-6 shortly before half-time, with Kelly Brown off his feet. No one was going overboard at the quality of rugby but it was gripping, after a fashion.

Paterson's fourth penalty after 47 minutes punished a late forearm into his stomach by Morgan's temporary replacement, Ceri Sweeney. The introduction of Shanklin had come after six weeks' injured inactivity, and it was clear Wales weren't going to win by Hook or by crook - referee Lewis and Paterson's boot were seeing to that.

Paterson made it 15-6 after 51 minutes; Stephen Jones brought it back to 15-9 before Thomas, Wales's hooker, went to the sin bin and over went Paterson's sixth penalty with the final quarter to come.

Twelve months ago, in the last knockings of Mike Ruddock's coaching reign, Wales had injuries to excuse their fall from Grand Slam grace. Jenkins, with one win in eight matches now, has less room for manoeuvre.

With two minutes left Paterson became the first Scot among six Championship players including Jonny Wilkinson (of course) to notch seven penalties. "I struck the ball reasonably well," said Paterson, his accuracy matched by his modesty.

Scotland: H Southwell (Edinburgh); S Lamont (Northampton), M Di Rollo (Edinburgh), R Dewey (Edinburgh), C Paterson (Edinburgh, capt); P Godman (Edinburgh), C Cusiter (Borders); G Kerr (Borders), D Hall (Edinburgh), E Murray (Glasgow), J Hamilton (Leicester), S Murray (Edinburgh), S Taylor (Edinburgh), D Callam (Edinburgh), K Brown (Borders) Replacements: R Ford (Borders) for Hall, 67; A Jacobsen (Edinburgh) for Kerr, 55; N Hines (Perpignan) for Hamilton, 48; A Hogg (Edinburgh) for Brown, 55; R Lawson (Gloucester) for Cusiter, 74; S Webster (Edinburgh) for Godman, 69; N Walker (Ospreys) for Lamont, 69.

Wales: K Morgan (Newport-Gwent Dragons); M Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), J Robinson (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Ospreys), C Czekaj (Blues); S Jones (Scarlets, capt), D Peel (Scarlets); D Jones (Ospreys), R Thomas (Blues), A Jones (Ospreys), R Sidoli (Blues), A W Jones (Ospreys), A Popham (Scarlets), R Jones (Ospreys), M Williams (Blues). Replacements: M Rees (Scarlets) for Williams, 58-68; G Jenkins (Blues) for D Jones, 58; I Gough (Dragons) for Sidoli, 52; J Thomas (Ospreys) for Williams, 68; C Sweeney (Dragons) for Morgan, 45-52; T Shanklin (Blues) for Hook, 40.

Referee: A Lewis (Ireland).

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