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09 Feb 2009 11:25
Wales began their defence of the Six Nations title with four tries in an emphatic 26-13 win over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.
The Welsh built their victory on a huge performance from their forwards, who ensured a steady supply of ball for their fast backs, with winger Shane Williams scoring his 45th try for his country.
Flyhalf Stephen Jones showed he has returned to form with a commanding performance, although he failed to convert any of the tries, kicking six points from two penalties.
Scotland scored a late try by replacement back Max Evans with Chris Paterson, on for injured winger Simon Webster, adding the conversion to his two penalties.
Scotland managed to hold the Welsh at bay in the early stages but paid for their efforts with injuries and a numerical disadvantage when new cap Geoff Cross was sin-binned.
Webster appeared to be concussed after a suicidal tackle on Martyn Williams and then Cross suffered a similar fate, colliding with Lee Byrne as the Wales fullback rose for a high ball.
Cross was carried off on a stretcher, accompanied by a yellow card for his dangerous challenge on Byrne.
Wales moved the ball left from a ruck for Shane Williams and Byrne to combine before Tom Shanklin took the fullback’s pass out of the tackle to roar over for the game’s first try.
With Scotland still down to 14 men, Wales struck again from a Scottish scrum put-in that squirted out on the Welsh side. Flyhalf Jones made a dart for the line and when he was stopped, the ball was quickly recycled for Mike Phillips to supply Alun Wyn Jones with the scoring pass.
Wales, 16-3 up at halftime, quickly increased their lead after the interval with a try by winger Leigh Halfpenny from a midfield run by centre Jamie Roberts and a deft final pass from Shane Williams.
A second penalty by Paterson reduced the Scots’ deficit but it was only a temporary respite as Wales launched a series of attacks that ended with Shane Williams diving in at the corner for his side’s fourth try.
With Wales flanker Martyn Williams in the sin-bin for deliberate knock-on, Scotland produced a late flurry of attacks and a wonderful solo try by Evans, who evaded four tackles on a weaving run to the line.
Scotland looked to have scored again when Paterson followed up his own chip ahead but he was adjudged to have knocked -n over the line.
It typified Scotland’s luck but there was no denying that Wales had produced all the winning cards.—Reuters
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