Scotland 20 tonight claimed a historic 36-34 win over their Welsh counterparts at a blustery Netherdale in the 2nd round of the U20 Six Nations Championship. 8 kicks from George Horne, combined with a further 3 tries for the Scots was enough to take victory over one of the tournament favourites.
After falling to a 47-3 defeat to France in Gueugnon the week before, Scotland were looking to make up lost ground in the U20 league against the Welsh, who were still on a high after their 21-15 win against their English counterparts.
With Wales looking to play some form of expansive rugby despite the poor weather, Scotland were quickly able to take advantage at the breakdown with scrum-half George Horne giving his side the early lead through a penalty. Just 2 minutes later, another attempt from 40 metres out gave Scotland a 6-0 lead.
Wales, however, came straight back on the attack and on the 2nd attempt at a driving lineout 5 metres out from the Scottish try-line, flanker Tom Phillips crashed over in much the same fashion as he did against England the weak before. Dan Jones’ conversion attempt drifted wide.
With Scotland failing to make the most of possession in the opposition half, the Welsh slowly but surely started to move their way up the field. With yet another penalty given away by the home side, a kick to the corner was decided and after setting up the maul from the lineout, Jones spread it wide before centre Owen Watkin offloaded to Dafydd Howells to cross over with the conversion successful. With Horne taking another penalty for Scotland, the score stood at 9-12 after 17 minutes.
The high-scoring affair continued as Garyn Smith made a great break through the centre of the Scottish defence, before Watkin’s delivered a perfect miss pass onto the right wing for 7s internationalist Josh Adams who stepped his opposite man to give Wales their 3rd try in 2 minutes. Jones was unsuccessful from the conversion.
Scotland soon responded with another penalty through Horne, however, the Scottish defence’s issues was starting to show as Smith made another break between the centres quite like his previous attack before stepping fullback Ruairi Howorth to give Wales a 24-12 lead with the conversion successful.
With the first half coming to a close, Scotland were now within 10 metres of the Welsh line and looking to end the half on a high. After Magnus Bradbury took the ball up well, a little flick back saw Murray McCallum dive over from short range. After consulting the TMO, the try was awarded, with Horne adding yet another 2 points to his tally.
Half Time: Scotland U20 19-24 Wales U20
Scotland came out blazing from the off as Peter Horne’s brother George landed his 6th successive kick to close the deficit to just 2 points. Just a few minutes later, a strong scrum on the Welsh 22 gave Scotland the prefect attacking setup with Howorth taking the ball to within inches of the line. 2 phases later, Melrose second-row Lewis Carmichael got his hands on the ball before spinning round to score. Horne’s was successful and despite Jones landing his first penalty for Wales, Scotland still led 29-27.
Wales were now the ones under pressure and their penalty count was rising. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Welsh second-row Adam Beard was sin-binned for a culmination of penalties. Fro the resulting lineout, Scotland were now in a strong attacking position, 5 metres out from the try-line. Horne and Bradbury were held up just short, but when prop Zander Fagerson took the ball, he made it over, despite the TMO looking for a double movement. Horne’s kick now gave Scotland a 9 point lead with time running out for the Welsh.
Wales were down, but not out. Retaining ball from the kick-off, they started to move up the park and after building up the phases, Josh Adams crossed for his 2nd of the evening. Jones made a superb conversion from the touchline to take the game down to the wire.
Wales were back up to their full complement, although it was Scotland with the ball in the opposition half. Scotland looked to have a penalty, however, after Horne got a bit too involved in the ruck, had the decision overturned thanks to the TMO with Wales looking to score from 80 metres out with 2 minutes to go. With Hutchison reclaiming a spilt ball, he delivered the perfect corner kick, resulting in a Scottish lineout.
Although Wales had a glimpse of a counter attack, Scotland quickly reclaimed the ball and held on to beat Wales U20 for only the 2nd time in their history.
Full Time: Scotland 36 34 Wales
SRBlog Man of the Match: Magnus Bradbury was strong with the ball in hand, however, George Horne’s 8/8 kicks was key to Scotland claiming victory over the Welsh in Galashiels. Scotland will be in good spirits with their next game coming in 2 weeks time against the Italians.