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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Scotland end 10 year drought with famous win over Wales

Scotland secured their second win in two games in the 6 Nations, and their first over Wales since 2007 after a stunning 29-13 victory at Murrayfield. Five penalties from man-of-the-match Finn Russell ultimately settled a real dogfight contest after spectacular tries from wingers Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser after half-time.

Wales led 13-9 at the break courtesy of two Leigh Halfpenny penalties and a clinical try from Liam Williams. But Rob Howley's men were unable to add to their tally in a scoreless second period.

Championship-wise, it is all but over now for Wales, while Scotland remain in contention for the overall title.

A game of attrition and sheer power at times, it was often dictated by whichever side gave away the fewer penalties. In between this was ingenuity and silky work from two of the most potent backlines in the Northern Hemisphere.

Williams' try on 23 minutes was the master plan of scrum-half Rhys Webb, whose quick tap caught the Scots off guard and opened the space for Halfpenny to brilliantly draw Stuart Hogg for the opening score.

Scotland's response after a difficult first half was superb. Seymour and Visser combined beautifully on the same wing for the former's try before Hogg's perfectly timed pass put the Dutchman in for the match-deciding try 12 minutes from the end.

Wales had golden opportunities to win the match themselves; Rhys Webb agonisingly knocked the ball on after Jonathan Davies smashed through the Scottish defence.

Webb was then denied after darting up the touchline in typical sniping fashion after putting a foot in touch due to a crucial Visser tackle.

These fine margins were what decided the match ultimately. For Wales, the end of title aspirations. For Scotland, they haven't felt this optimistic since their last championship-winning team of 1999.

Scotland captain John Barclay said post-match: “We felt like we made it very hard for them in the second half. We tightened things up, our discipline was better in the second half as well. So these things helped us get the win today.”

Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley: "The areas that mattered the most, I think Scotland edged it. We had chances - Jonathan and Rhys were pretty close - but international rugby is about keeping the ball."

*now updated with extended highlights

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