Six Nations: Wales v Scotland

The 2018 Championship gets underway as a wounded Wales welcome the fancied Scots to Cardiff

Patrick Madden Sat, Feb 3
 
LIVE: Six Nations: Wales v Scotland

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  • Good afternoon!

    Welcome to our coverage of the opening game of the 2018 Six Nations, as Wales welcome Scotland to Cardiff (2.15pm).

    The good news? Well, the worst of the year is over. January is now a distant memory and February has brought with it an old friend.

    Indeed, the northern hemisphere's premier tournament has returned to guide us through the final vestiges of winter and into the loving arms of spring.

    Over the next six weeks tries will be scored, tears will be shed and bones will probably be broken. And we've got it all to look forward to (apart from the bones bit).

    It all begins at the Millennium Stadium this afternoon, as Gregor Townsend's warrior poets look to justify their tag as genuine Championship contenders against a heavily-wounded Wales.

    Warren Gatland's injury list is so extensive it would make Pep Guardiola blush, with the majority of his world class heavyweights absent for the duration of the competition.

    But, depleted or not, Wales under the Cardiff roof remain a force to be reckoned with. The stage is set for a barnstorming start.

    We'll be bringing you all the action from the Welsh capital, and then Paris later this afternoon as Ireland begin their campaign against France (4.45pm).

    Here we go again.

    Come on!!!

  • TEAMS:

    WALES: Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets); Josh Adams (Worcester), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Steff Evans (Scarlets); Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Gareth Davies (Scarlets); Rob Evans (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Cory Hill (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester). Replacements: Elliot Dee (Dragons), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Aled Davies (Scarlets), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) Owen Watkin (Ospreys).

    SCOTLAND: Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); T Seymour (Glasgow Warriors), C Harris (Newcastle Falcons), H Jones (Glasgow Warriors), B McGuigan (Sale Sharks); F Russell (Glasgow Warriors), A Price (Glasgow Warriors); G Reid (London Irish), S McInally (Edinburgh Rugby), J Welsh (Newcastle Falcons), B Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby), J Gray (Glasgow Warriors), J Barclay Capt (Scarlets), H Watson (Edinburgh Rugby), C du Preez (Edinburgh Rugby). Replacements: S Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), J Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors), M McCallum (Edinburgh Rugby), G Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), R Wilson (Glasgow Warriors), G Laidlaw (ASM Clermont Auvergne), P Horne (Glasgow Warriors), S Maitland (Saracens)

  • The morning of a new Championship means there's plenty of reading material for you to get through before kick-off.

    Ahead of Ireland's opener in the Stade de France Matt Williams has been far from complimentary about a beleaguered French side. You can read his thoughts HERE.

    And our experts have made their predictions for this year's tournament which you can read HERE.

  • And when you're all read out we've got some ear candy for you as well - Gordon D'Arcy, Gerry Thornley and more have previewed the opening weekend in the second edition of the Irish Times Sports Podcast.


    You can listen to that HERE.

  • Things are fascinatingly poised in Cardiff this afternoon. England and Ireland are fancied to scrap it out for the Grand Slam on March 17th, but Scotland look the best equipped to unsettle that duopoly.

    Gregor Townsend picked up the reigns from Vern Cotter last May and the Scots have continued to thrive under the former Glasgow boss. They secured a couple of eye-catching results last autumn - particularly as they thrashed Australia 53-24 in November.

    They have some electric talents - Stuart Hogg will continue to garner the headlines but Finn Russell has matured at 10 while Huw Jones is a strong midfield addition. A statement Six Nations could lie ahead.

  • Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies, Talupe Faletau, Liam Williams, Dan Lydiate, Rhys Webb, Dan Biggar, Jake Ball, Hallom Amos, George North. . .

    As injury lists go, that's pretty impressive.

  • Despite that decimation, Wales are still favourites with the bookies today - history weighing heavy on the Scots, whose last away Six Nations win (apart from in Rome) came in Dublin in 2010.  
  • No fewer than nine Scarlets in today's starting Wales line-up, which should at least bring some cohesion to an unfamiliar starting XV.

    The mighty Alun Wyn Jones will lead the Welsh pack, and despite their absentees they have a smart looking backrow. Ross Moriarty's return to fitness is a boon, while Josh Navidi and Aaron Shingler deserve their chances at Test match level.

  • 15 mins until kick off!
  • Infact, only one of today's Welsh backline doesn't play for the Scarlets - 23-year-old Worcester winger Josh Adams. Not a bad day to pick up your first cap.
  • Here come the teams in Cardiff. Crackling.
  • A reminder of the teams.
  • Time for Land of My Fathers.
  • Typically rousing. The fuse it lit.
  • We're underway!!!
  • 1 min: Brilliant start from TV3 - missing the opening phases of play to show adverts.
  • 2 min: Wales instantly under the cosh, after a kick goes out on the full giving Scotland a lineout deep in home territory. Good width from Scotland before they move it left where Jonny Gray makes a surging run into the 22.

    Pressure from the visitors under the posts but Wales escape with a penalty. Huge roar of relief in Cardiff.

  • 4 min: Price kicks deep down the right to the covering Patchell, who returns in kind, picking out Russell. He spins it inside to Hogg who has his first sniff of broken field ball, dinking it over the Welsh line and searing through where Halfpenny covers brilliantly in midfield.
  • 5 min: This is predictably frantic so far. Lovely break from deep from Scott Williams, with a trademark step down the left and offload to Halfpenny. The ball goes loose and Scotland break back through Price. Fast and loose.
  • TRY WALES!!!!!!!!
  • Did somebody say fast and loose?! Scotland on the ball inside the Welsh 10 near the touchline. Price moves it inside for prop Jon Welsh and Gareth Davies reads it brilliantly, picking off the pass and having the gas to score in the left corner. Great wheels.

    Brilliant touchline conversion from Halfpenny.

    8 MIN: WALES 7 SCOTLAND 0

  • 9 min: Wow, Wales nearly score again. Welsh break from deep and the ball is moved inside to Shingler who has a runner on his shoulder. Lovely hands from the Welsh pack and Alun Wyn Jones is tackled just short where he offloads to Steff Evans, who can't hold onto the pass with the tryline begging. Scintillating play.
  • 10 MIN: WALES 7 SCOTLAND 0
  • 11 min: Crooked feed at the five-metre scrum from Scotland, Welsh put in.
  • TRY WALES!!!!!!
  • What a start. Wales win the scrum and hammer the short side, Patchell seeing a gap and being hauled down just short. The hosts have men back to the right and use the hands well, the ball worked out to Halfpenny who straightens up and muscles his way over the line.

    The try scorer then lasers over the conversion from the right.

    13 MIN: WALES 14 SCOTLAND 0

  • 14 min: Another glimpse for Wales - loose Scottish ball inside their own half and Steff Evans pounces but gets a poor connection on his hack forward. Scotland play the advantage and break through Russell - this is frantic.
  • 15 min: Wales kick and Hogg covers. Scotland move it left through the hands, Huw Jones dummying and breaking into the 22. Nice footwork but his offload goes loose.

    Wales then counter, moving the ball out to the right where Adams has some grass in front of him and kicks long. Russell covers and shows great feet to dance out of trouble.

  • 17 min: Finally a bit of a breather after Samson Lee knocks on just outside the 22. It's been loose, absorbing and full of attacking endeavour.
  • 19 min: Solid Scottish scrum and they move it right, Russell feeding the midfield and looping round before grubbering into touch inside the Welsh five.
  • 20 MIN: WALES 14 SCOTLAND 0
  • 20 min: Slightly nervy exit from Wales but they secure the ball and Patchell hoofs it clear from the deadball line.
  • 21 min: This time it's Gareth Davies' turn to get pinged for a crooked feed - good consistency from referee Pascal Gauzere and something which goes unpunished too often.  
  • 22 min: Scotland dig the ball out of the scrum under pressure with McGuigan coming in off his left wing and finding Harris, who gets smashed in midfield. Tenacious defence from the Welsh, slowing the ball down and enforcing a turnover on their 10.
  • 23 min: Wales kick and a great chase puts Seymour under pressure. He's held up and Navidi locks onto the ball and earns his side a scrum on the Scottish 10, on the left.
  • 24 min: Wales spin it wide quickly and Adams lasers in of his right wing but gets penalised for holding on. Scotland take the penalty quickly but can't find touch. Wales kick it back but this time Russell makes no mistake, finding a great touch on the right.
  • 25 MIN: WALES 14 SCOTLAND 0
  • 26 min: Good tackle from Adams on the right on Harris, slowing Scotland down when they looked to have daylight on the outside. Scotland retain the ball until there's a knock on from hooker McInally. And breathe.  
  • 27 min: Gauzere happy with Davies' feed this time and the ball is moved to Patchell. He spies space out on the right and tries a crossfield kick to Adams, the ball just squirting away from the debutante and into touch.
  • 29 min: Samson Lee and Cory Hill both caught offside on the Scottish 22 - Russell finds touch in Welsh territory.
  • 30 MIN: WALES 14 SCOTLAND 0
  • 30 min: Poor darts from McInally and Wales are awarded a scrum for a wonky throw. Solid set piece and Wales kick long before Hogg returns the ball. Welsh possession inside the Scottish half, lovely ball from Alun Wyn Jones in midfield and then again from Samson Lee. But then Moriarty gets isolated and Scotland have a penalty.
  • 32 min: Scotland on the front foot inside the Welsh 22 but then McGuigan is pinged for holding on, Navidi locking in over the top. Ferocious backrow play from both sides.
  • 33 min: Steff Evans slips a tackle on halfway but his offload to Shingler just evades his Scarlets team mate and bobbles into touch.
  • 35 min: Good play from Scotland, neat hands engineering space for Huw Jones who opts to kick ahead. It's a good one, and the Scottish centre has the momentum to carry the covering Halfpenny over the try line and earn his side a five-metre scrum.
  • 36 min: Solid Scottish scrum and Price picks and uses the open side, fizzing a flat pass to Harris who knocks forward. The Scots have had plenty of territory and possession but currently have nothing to show for it.
  • 37 min: Great exit from Wales, securing the scrum and moving it right to Parkes who launches a huge kick which finds touch inside the Scottish 22.
  • 38 MIN: WALES 14 SCOTLAND 0
  • 38 min: Scotland's clearning kick charged down by Hill and they have a five-metre lineout to negotiate. They just about manage it, earning a penalty with Wales adjudged to have interfered at the maul.
  • 39 min: Quick ball off the top for Scotland and they look dangerous, McGuigan again wrapping round from his left wing - but again losing the ball in contact. Great work from Scott Williams.
  • 40 min: Patchell finds Adams with a crossfield kick but he has to check to collect it. Wales retain the ball and then lump it into touch.
  • HT: WALES 14 SCOTLAND 0
  • I'm going for a lie down.
  • The teams are back out for the second half!
  • Patchell has the ball in hand, and we're back underway!
  • 41 min: Scotland claim the restart and then Russell clears but it's a poor kick - good work from Seymour to claim it in the air on the Scottish 22.
  • 42 min: Very bright start to the half from the hosts. Scotland get turned over deep inside their own half and the ball is kicked ahead where Gareth Davies runs onto it. He's tackled as he tries to move outside with Navidi in support - but Wales are awarded a penalty.

    Easy chance for Halfpenny this, and he drills it over.

    44 MIN: WALES 17 SCOTLAND 0

  • 45 min: Scottish scrum just inside the Welsh half. Solid set piece with Barclay finding Russell and Price looping round. Russell then finds the space in behind Wales with a good kick.
  • 46 min: Quick lineout ball for Wales and they secdure it before clearing. Good exit.
  • 47 min: Scotland looking to counter in midfield but they try and force an offload and it goes loose. Wales retaining the ball in midfield where captain Barclay makes too much of a nuisance of himself on the floor and gets penalised. The visitors discipline has been very poor thus far.


    The penalty is dead straight and about five metres inside the Scottish half. Halfpenny nails it, he's really in the groove off the tee.

  • 48 MIN: WALES 20 SCOTLAND 0
  • 49 min: Greig Laidlaw on for Scotland and his first act is to feed a Scottish scrum which gets brutally wheeled by the hosts. Welsh penalty which Patchell sends for a briliant touch tight inside the Scottish 22.
  • 50 MIN: WALES 20 SCOTLAND 0
  • 51 min: Scott Williams chips over the top but it's easy for Hogg to cover and touchdown ingoal. Wales enjoying the territory, though.
  • 52 min: Great play from Wales, Patchell engineering space on the right, and Adams is released on the right wing. He has the chance to stretch his legs but doesn't have the space to get down the outside and cuts back in.
  • 53 min: Hogg has been quiet today and he gets a rare chance to run the ball back at Wales but there's traffic in front of him and he's quickly scragged in midfield. The Scots don't look like clawing this one back at the moment, they're short of ideas.
  • 55 min: Another spell of Scottish possession comes to nothing, the ball thrown out to Jones who knocks it forward off his bootlaces.
  • 56 min: Dancing feet from Steff Evans on the left and he's invovled again moments later after Navidi runs out of space. Good play from the hosts, Patchell dummying to get on the outside. The pressure comes to nothing however, good work over the top from Scotland.
  • 59 min: Wales in the ascendancy at the moment, and they get quick ball off the top from a lineout on the right. Sustained ball on the Scottish 22 before it's stabbed in behind the visitors. Laidlaw covers but is hauled into touch by Patchell, who's been excellent.
  • 60 MIN: WALES 20 SCOTLAND 0
  • 61 min: Alun Wyn Jones claims the lineout and Wales set the maul, twisting and grinding forward where they're grimly held up by the Scots.
  • TRY WALES!!!!!!!!!
  • The pressure tells and Wales's dominance is rewarded. They move it right where Patchell spies the gap and tries to go himself. He's held up but Wales still have men over and it's moved to Halfpenny, who dives over unchallenged in the corner. He hadn't scored for 38 Tests - he's got two today.

    Another deadeye conversion from the Welsh fullback.

    63 MIN: WALES 27 SCOTLAND 0

  • 65 min: Wales back on the ball under the Scottish posts, Davies making a darting run. Have they scored again?! Lovely hands from new man Anscombe and he pops it off to prop Wyn Jones, who is tackled as he burrows towards the line. Replays aren't conclusive - no score.
  • 66 min: Welsh five-metre scrum and they turn the screw, forcing a penalty. Scotland are broken.
  • 69 min: Scotland firmer second time round and Wales use it, bringing Steff Evans in off his left wing. Great play from captain Barclay winning a penalty on his own five-metre. Wales will kick themselves if they don't get an unexpected bonus point here.
  • 70 MIN: WALES 27 SCOTLAND 0
  • 70 min: That should have been it! Lovely flat ball to Alun Wyn Jones who breaks the Scottish line from inside his own half. He carries and looks for Anscombe, who would have been through but can't hold onto the offload.
  • 71 min: A rare glimpse for Scotland, carrying up the left where Maitland kicks ahead but there's a brilliant bit of cover from Steff Evans who sweeps round and clears.
  • TRY WALES!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • A brilliant bonus point score for Wales. They have acres of space on the left with Navidi - who's had a stormer - keeping the ball alive before it's moved to Parkes. Parkes carries, straightens and finds the flying Steff Evans on the left, who produces a stunning one-handed finish.

    Another perfect conversion from Halfpenny, splitting the posts from the touchline.

    74 MIN: WALES 34 SCOTLAND 0  

  • 75 min: Russell scheming in midfield and he tries to chip over the Welsh line but Steff Evans claims the ball well. Wales are then done for not rolling away and Russell finds touch on the right.
  • 76 min: Scotland win their lineout as they look for a consolation score and Wales are pinged for coming in at the side. Back into the corner.
  • 77 min: Scotland building phases and moving the ball across the pitch to the left, the forward doing grunt work taking shorter balls but unable to break into the Welsh five. Eventually they engineer space for the backs but parkes reads it well to tackle Horne.  
  • TRY SCOTLAND!!!
  • Scotland finally get on the bard, Horne finding a way through a tireless Welsh defence, sniping at the fringe of a ruck, to touch down.

    Russell converts.

    79 MIN: WALES 34 SCOTLAND 7

  • 80 min: Man of the match? Welsh number seven Shingler. And that's yer lot.
  • FT: WALES 34 SCOTLAND 7
  • Right, thanks for joining - great start for Wales.

    I'm heading across to cover Ireland's opener against France, see you there!