Scotland brought to an end a run of three defeats in the Six Nations under-20 Championship with a bonus-point win over Wales at Meggetland that was more sumptuous than the scoreline suggests which sends a signal to the senior side for today’s clash at BT Murrayfield.
This was a victory that was founded on sound basics, a real ambition to play fast and intelligent rugby and an unyielding defence that cracked only in the last six minutes of the game when Wales scored two late tries that flattered them.
Scotland went into the half-time break with a 19-6 lead, an advantage that reflected the Scots’ ability to attack spaces rather than engage in a physical battle.
The Scots made their breakthrough after six minutes when from a line-out in the corner number 8 Kwagga van Niekerk made the initial charge before skipper and man-of-the-match Connor Boyle sprinted to the line.
Scotland repeatedly gained ground with subtle grubber kicks and clever handling moves but again it was from line-out possession gifted by Wales’ failure to control the ball that centre Robbie McCallum chose the right angle to squeeze through the defence for a try under the posts converted by Ross Thomson.
Then when Van Niekerk was shown the yellow card for a dangerous tackle, Wales tried to use their extra-man advantage by mauling a succession of line-outs only to be thwarted by a determined Scots effort. Wales, however, did have reward, two penalty goals by stand-off Cai Evans.
Scotland finished the first half strongly and struck again with a finely judged cross kick from the in-form Thomson, which was taken by wing Rory McMichael for the home side’s third try, converted by Thomson to give the Scots a 19-6 half-time lead.
Scotland’s advantage was quickly extended with a Thomson penalty goal and then when the stand-off put in a grubber kick second row Cameron Henderson showed good skills by putting Jack Blain in for the bonus-point try .
Wales hit back strongly but were denied a score after good defence after a break from replacement Sam Costelow. But just before full time a driving maul produced a try for replacement hooker Will Griffith converted by Evans. And then on full time Costelow raced in for his side’s second try again converted by Evans to collect a a barely deserved losing bonus point.