Wales shock Scotland in Cardiff

by AAP

Leigh Halfpenny scored two tries as Wales opened their Six Nations campaign with a dominant 34-7 victory against much-fancied Scotland in Cardiff.

Wales banished memories of their defeat to Scotland in last year's fixture with a commanding victory on Saturday, courtesy of tries from Gareth Davies and Steff Evans and Halfpenny's double.

The experienced fullback also added 14 points from the boot for a personal tally of 24.

Scotland had not won in Cardiff since 2002 but arrived in the Welsh capital buoyed up by a superb spell in November that saw them thump Australia and fall agonisingly short of a famous victory against the world champion All Blacks.

Wales, however - without six of their British & Irish Lions stars - started in inspired fashion at a fervent Principality Stadium with Davies intercepting a pass from Ali Price to canter over from 60 metres.

Wales had plenty to celebrate on Saturday night. Photo: Getty ImagesThe visitors barely had time to settle before Halfpenny dived over for his first Wales try since 2013, 38 games ago.

Fielding a number of inexperienced players due to injury, Scotland made it to the break without falling further behind but any hopes of a second-half comeback were hampered by Halfpenny, who twice punished Scottish infringements to extend the lead.

Halfpenny then strolled over for his second on the hour mark and Evans scampered down the touchline to finish acrobatically in the closing stages, before two sweetly-struck conversions extended the fullback's perfect record from the tee to six from six.

The only negative on a brilliant afternoon for Wales was Peter Horne's late consolation try.

It was a tough Six Nations coaching debut for Gregor Townsend. Photo: Getty ImagesWales finished above only Italy in last year's championship but expertly marshalled the final 30 minutes and will be full of confidence when they travel to back-to-back champions England next Saturday.

Scotland-- tipped by many pundits to upset the dominance of tournament favourites England and Ireland -- host an unpredictable France in their next outing on February 11.

Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones put his team's win down to their wariness of the opposition.

"Credit to Scotland. The way they've been playing - that was a performance borne out of respect for them," he told the BBC.

"Obviously we're very pleased to start like that but there's a long campaign ahead."

Scotland captain John Barclay said: "It's hard to find any positives. I'm sure there will be some positives but Wales were superb today so well done to them - but we've got a lot of work to do."


Wales 34

Tries: Halfpenny 2, Davies, Evans

Cons: Halfpenny 4

Pens: Halfpenny 2

Scotland 7

Tries:  Horne

Cons: Russell