Shane Williams scored a brace as Wales surged to a 30-15 victory over Scotland in Cardiff.
Scotland had fought back to within five points in the final quarter before a typical piece of Williams magic handed them a comfortable 27-15 lead. Williams accelerated through a gap and drove for the line despite the intentions of Scotland winger Nikki Walker. Video evidence suggested Williams’s foot brushed the touchline, but the TMO ruled the try had been scored.
Both teams were guilty of handling errors early on which limited what was shaping to be a free-flowing game. Wales battled to score when camped on the Scottish tryline, and their first try was born from a misdirected Scotland kick. The subsequent phase saw the ball go as far as Williams, who cut back inside for a beautiful try.
The Welsh finishing didn’t improve, with a Martyn Williams pass drifting forward to an unmarked Shane Williams. The hosts failed to capitalise when Scotland lock Allister Hogg was sin-binned, and the Scots went to the break only trailing 6-10.
James Hook, who produced another great performance at pivot, slipped through a gap early in the second half after Wales launched a lateral attack. The Scottish defence that had begun so brilliantly disintegrated as the match wore on.
Chris Paterson, who was shifted to the left wing, kept the Scots in touch through his unerring boot. The visitors were never in the game as far as producing an impact on attack was concerned, but Paterson’s five penalties kept them within striking distance for much of the match.
The win is the second in Wales’ Six Nations campaign and the second for new coach Warren Gatland. Although the former Waikato man will be thrilled with the result, it’s clear the Welsh need to sharpen their finishing before they meet Italy in two weeks time. A win against the Azzuri is likely, however, and three victories will provide a great launchpad for a title assault when they meet Ireland and France in March.
Wales - Tries: Shane Williams (2), James Hook. Conversions: Hook (2), Stephen Jones. Penalties: Hook, Jones (2).
Scotland – Penalties: Chris Paterson (5).