A total of 14 tries were scored as Wales romped to a bonus point win at Broadwood, although six Scottish tries made sure the hosts did not leave empty handed.
In a game where the Welsh backs were almost given free rein to run while the Scottish driving maul dominated things up front, there rarely seemed a moment where the visitors’ lead was brought into question, thanks in large part to the exploits of Keiran Williams with the ball in hand and Ben Jones off the kicking tee.
Wales got off to the best of starts with two tries in the opening 10 minutes courtesy of Cameron Lewis and Corey Baldwin. In both, Scottish stand-off Josh Henderson’s defensive skills were put under pressure with two missed tackles resulting in the tries.
As the first half developed, Jones kept the score board ticking with a couple of penalties although Scotland were lucky the score line was not worse; only a superb try saving tackle by Ayr’s Stafford McDowell stopping a length of the field effort.
The half hour mark saw the try of the game with Williams coming on the receiving end of some delicate two-on-ones following a poor kick chase where the Scottish defenders appeared isolated.
However, just before the break, Scotland managed to turn that depressing 27-0 score line into simply unflattering. Worcester’s Tom Dodd was first to crash over from short range, only just finding the whitewash and no more. Less than two minutes later after some good pressure applied after a deep kick, the Scottish driving maul kicked into action from 5m out and Fraser Renwick touched down for the hosts. Did Scotland still have a chance?
Half-time: Scotland U20s 12-27 Wales U20s
Alas, any hopes of another Scottish comeback quickly evaporated with an unlucky bounce over McDowell’s head on the artificial surface allowing Rhun Williams to cross over unopposed. Jones slotted the conversion and followed soon after with another penalty to take the score line to 12-34.
As if enough tries had not yet been scored, the next 20 minutes saw tries one after the other at either end of the ground. Scotland’s captain Callum Hunter-Hill scored his side’s second try from a driving maul while replacement scrum half Andrew Simmers used his slight frame to spin across the line from short range.
The pick of the Scottish tries however came from Harlequins Academy prospect Robbie Nairn who, just outside the Welsh 22, broke down along the touchline, using his pace and a fine hand-off to see off any remaining defenders. There was still some spark in the Scottish attack.
Wales meanwhile continued to increase their lead, first through inside centre Williams who dived under the attempted Scottish tackles, closely followed by flanker James Botham (son of Liam and grandson of Ian) who was on hand to finish off an overlap in the Scottish corner.
With 10 minutes left and both sides having secured their respective try bonus points, the game’s pace began to slow down, yet there was still time for a couple more tries. Newport’s Max Williams grabbed Wales’ eighth and final try thanks to an effective driving maul before Nairn crossed for his second in injury time, delivering a clever final step to outwit his defender.
Overall, Scotland showed some good qualities in terms of attack, yet this game highlighted what work needs to be done in defence and control in open play. Next up: the current U20 World Champions, England.
Full Time: Scotland U20s 34 – 65 Wales U20s
SRBlog Man of the Match: Scotland at least looked exciting in attack and replacements Robbie Nairn and Andrew Simmers both had an impact in the second half. However, for good structure at the set piece and for helping lead by example, captain Callum Hunter-Hill was our stand out Scotsman in Cumbernauld.
Comeback to Remember for Scotland’s Women
Prior to the U20s, Scotland Women stepped up looking to go one step further than their injury time defeat to Ireland the last time they graced the Broadwood turf. Early on, Scotland struggled to maintain discipline and conceded two set piece tries: Caris Phillips scoring from a driving maul and a penalty try for collapsing the scrum. Elinor Snowsill’s two conversions gave Wales an early 0-14 lead.
However, on the verge of half time centre Lisa Thompson offered a glimmer of hope for the Scots by breaking through two tackles from short range to cross the whitewash. After the break, Scotland began to mount further pressure on the Welsh line and with just 20 minutes remaining, Rhona Lloyd crossed for the easiest of tries in the corner, set up by an excellent offload by Jade Konkel and two-on-one pass delivered by Sarah Law.
With the score now at 12-14 in Wales’ favour and the weather conditions worsening, the game became rather scrappy and the penalty count for both times increased. However, in the end Scotland were the ones to get a penalty close enough for an attempt at goal and with three minutes remaining, scrum half Law slotted the three points to give her team the lead.
A tense few minutes of holding out the game followed but with the final whistle blown, Scotland confirmed their first Six Nations win since 2010. A tremendous result, especially considering the last time Wales visited Broadwood in 2015, the score read 3-39 to the visitors.