Six Nations 2014: Wales thrash Scotland with seven-try victory
Six Nations 2014: Wales score seven tries to thrash Scotland at the Millennium Stadium
Wales ran riot with a magnificent seven-try 51-3 win over 14-man Scotland in their final Six Nations match at the Millennium Stadium.
Stuart Hogg was Scotland’s villain. Red carded for a shoulder charge into the face of Dan Biggar with his already 10-3 down and without their concussed captain Kelly Brown when he departed after five minutes.
George North and Jamie Roberts both went over for a brace of tries with LiamWilliams, Taulupe Faletau and Rhodri Williams all running in as Scotland’s depleted backline struggled to cope with Wales’ superb running game.
Greig Laidlaw gave Scotland the lead on four minutes with a 37-metre penalty when Wales were penalised for being offside, but it would be their only points of what will be a disappointing end to Scott Johnson’s reign as head coach.
Making his first start of the championship, Ospreys outside-half Dan Biggar restored parity six minutes later before Laidlaw missed the first of two first-half kicks at goal.
If there were any concerns about the four-month absence of points machine Leigh Halfpenny to a shoulder injury picked up against England last week, they were quickly forgotten as Scarlets full-back Liam Williams set the Millennium Stadium alight with a grandstand diving try in the left corner to end 11 phases of Wales territory inside the Scotland 22.
It was classic Wales under Gatland as, after the forwards with a bit of help from the centres smashed their way into the Scotland defence, the ball went out wide through the hands: scrum-half, outside-half, man on the wing, try.
Soon after Hogg’s moment of madness arrived. Chasing down his high kick, Biggar beat Duncan Weir to the ball only for Glasgow Warriors full-back Hogg to send him to the deck with a well-aimed shoulder to the chin.
Referee Jerôme Garces initially produced a yellow, before replays on the big screen convinced him otherwise. Hogg re-emerged briefly to be given his marching orders, and Scotland’s afternoon went from bad to worse with number 8 Dave Denton forced to put in a double shift by covering at full-back when not needed at the set-piece.
After obligatory checks by the medics, Biggar dusted himself off and extended Wales’ lead to 10 points from the resulting penalty and Wales quickly ramped up the pressure.
Liam Williams was the catalyst for Wales’ second try, catching a high ball before burning down the left wing, an offload to Mike Phillips kept the move alive, and the scrum-half found North, who skipped past Denton as he ran away.
Sensing Scotland could surrender at any moment, Wales had briefly scored again through the hard-working Jonathan Davies after a kick chase forward, only for the assistant referee to adjudge offside.
The disappointment of the Welsh supporters barely had chance to gather as Wales went immediately back on the attack, Roberts this time finishing off a well-worked team move which involved his centre partner Davies breaking away down the left. Biggar converted with the last play of the half as Wales went up 27-3 at the break.
Already in fine voice, the Millennium Stadium erupted just two minutes after the break as Davies was again involved in a breakaway down the left, this time North the grateful recipient to see the ball home.
At 32-3 and Scotland offering very little in attack, it was a case of how many tries for Wales as talks of record wins began. That only intensified six minutes later as Roberts finished off yet another Wales breakaway involving Liam Williams and Davies, with a brief cameo from Faletau as Scotland looked clueless.
With just under half an hour remaining, Wales’ sixth try came as Wales played the ball through the hands and capitalised on Scotland’s man disadvantage, this time Faletau popping up on the right wing to dot down.
On 52 minutes it was time for Wales’ sixth try of the match as simple numbers once again created space for Faletau, who had an easy run-in on the right wing as the hosts moved into the forties.
With both sides ringing the changes, Scotland briefly rallied, but came no came no closer to breaking through the Wales defence, but it took Wales a further 22 minutes to get it together again as Rhodri Williams finished off a move started from a kick through by fellow substitute James Hook to take the score to 51-3, a new Welsh record for points scored and winning margin.