Wales 20-17 Scotland: Late Biggar drop goal gives defending champions lift-off

By Sports Desk February 12, 2022

Dan Biggar's drop goal on his 100th Test appearance gave Wales' Six Nations title defence lift-off as they battled to a 20-17 victory over Scotland at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

Wayne Pivac's side were thrashed 29-7 by Ireland in their opener but dug deep to edge out Scotland, who were seeking back-to-back wins after beating England last week.

Darcy Graham and Tom Francis crossed over in a first half that ended level and it remained all square at 17-17 late on as Biggar and Finn Russell kicked four penalties apiece.

A big moment arrived 12 minutes from time when Russell was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and, while Wales could not add another try, Biggar's boot two minutes later proved decisive.

Biggar punished slow-starting Scotland by kicking over a couple of early penalties, but the visitors soon got going and scored the first try with 11 minutes played.

Graham outmuscled Louis Rees-Zammit to ground the ball in the corner after collecting a looping pass from Russell towards the right.

Russell was unable to add the extras but slotted over three penalties, either side of one from Biggar, to give Scotland a five-point advantage.

But the hosts were on level terms at half-time thanks to just a second try in Welsh colours for Francis, who grounded after his side drove to the line from the line-out.

Russell and Biggar continued their kicking battle in the second half to ensure the sides remained all square heading into a tense finale.

Alex Cuthbert had a try ruled out for being in touch but referee Nic Berry and TMO adjudged that Russell was not in a position to catch the ball in the build-up when knocking on.

Russell was subsequently yellow-carded and Wales ramped up the pressure, culminating in Biggar slotting over a three-pointer, rather than going for the line, which proved the right call as Wales held on for victory.

Related items

  • £3million set to be shared among Lions nations for women’s rugby £3million set to be shared among Lions nations for women’s rugby

    A new £3million funding initiative will aim to help develop more players and coaches from across the British Isles ahead of the first British and Irish Lions Women’s tour in 2027.

    The Lions will play three Tests against world champions New Zealand during September 2027 and are also expected to have warm-up fixtures against provincial sides.

    Among the challenges facing the historic tour is England’s clear superiority over the other unions, which has seen the Red Roses dominate the Six Nations – with Saturday’s 46-0 victory over Scotland in Edinburgh stretching their overall winning run in the tournament to 27 matches.

    Backed by the Lions Women’s team founding partner Royal London, the £3m ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ pathways funding grant will be utilised in tailored plans for each union to best match their needs.

    The Irish Rugby Football Union has decided to use the funding to host additional women’s under-18 and under-20 camps and training matches to accelerate player development as well as developing a ‘Coach Accelerator Scholarship Program’ and working with universities to identify future talent.

    The Welsh Rugby Union will strengthen its women’s pathway coaching staff with five new members, including a performance pathway coach and specialist skills coach. The WRU will also invest in talent identification programmes, and initiatives to engage Welsh qualified talent based outside of the nation.

    Scottish Rugby is set to recruit two ‘Performance Pipeline’ coaches and will deliver additional youth camps and training matches to accelerate development within the teams as well as hosting residential camps for a national academy.

    The Rugby Football Union will use the grant to further develop England’s current player development groups, which will help increase the targeted skill development of players coming through the pathway.

    It is hoped collaborative working and shared research and ideas will help develop playing standards and give the Lions Women’s squad the best chance of a successful tour to in New Zealand in three years’ time.

    Lions chief executive Ben Calveley said: “Supporting the growth of the women’s game is a key strategic priority for the British and Irish Lions as it is for each of our constituent unions.

    “Royal London’s ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ grant represents a significant investment into the women’s game in the four unions and will make a positive impact on women’s rugby.”

  • England wing Jess Breach wary of rapidly improving Scotland in Six Nations clash England wing Jess Breach wary of rapidly improving Scotland in Six Nations clash

    Jess Breach insists England enter unknown territory when they meet a rapidly improving Scotland in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations on Saturday.

    The Red Roses have not lost in the fixture since suffering an 8-5 defeat in 1998 but that record faces its sternest test yet at a sold-out Hive Stadium in Edinburgh, where a record crowd of 7,774 will be attendance.

    Scotland toppled Wales in Cardiff in round one before being edged by France a week later and, having won the WXV 2 tournament in October, there is evidence the 28 professional contracts awarded at the end of 2022 are raising standards.

    England remain favourites but wing Breach insists the element of jeopardy is good for the Red Rose and the Six Nations.

    “It is going to be a really competitive game. And we’ve probably never been in this scenario with Scotland before,” said Breach, who has won on all 35 of her caps.

    “Everyone’s really excited because it’s going to be challenging for us. Hopefully we can showcase really good rugby for the fans.

    “It’s great for the competition. You can see that every nation is getting better after being contracted.

    “Italy put up a great fight against us in the first half, so it just shows that if money is pumped into the game and players are allowed to go full time, the Six Nations gets better.”

    Demonstrating the growth of women’s rugby is that Scotland’s victory 26 years ago was staged at an independent school in Edinburgh, compared to a packed Hive Stadium in 2024.

    “It feels like we’re growing and heading in the right direction. Every nation wants big crowds,” Breach said.

    “That’s happening at the moment and heading into the 2025 World Cup we should be able to sell most stadiums out. It’s exciting and who doesn’t want to be part of women’s rugby?”

  • John Souttar insists his full focus is on Rangers’ season run-in John Souttar insists his full focus is on Rangers’ season run-in

    John Souttar will put Euro 2024 aims on the backburner as he looks forward to a potentially thrilling finale to the domestic season with Rangers.

    The Light Blues already have the Viaplay Cup in the Ibrox trophy room and will play Hearts in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Sunday week.

    Philippe Clement’s side are also chasing cinch Premiership leaders Celtic at the top of the table as they prepare for the trip to Ross County on Sunday and while the summer offers the possibility to go to the European Championships in Germany with Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad, the Gers defender is looking no further than Dingwall.

    The 27-year-old said: “To be honest, my full focus is on Rangers. It is massive for us at the end of the season, there are six, seven weeks left and everyone knows what is at stake. So for me, the full focus is on every game.

    “I know it is cliche but it is so important we go into every game with full concentration and full belief in what we have been doing for the last months since the gaffer came in.

    “We stick to everything that has got us in this position and the rest will take care of itself.”

    After an injury-ravaged first season at Ibrox following his move from Hearts, Souttar is pleased to have racked up 35 appearance for Rangers this season so far.

    “Everyone knows last season for me was far from ideal and it wasn’t what I dreamed of when I signed here,” he said.

    “But this season, so far, I have made up probably for lost time in the games that I have played and the minutes I have had on the pitch.

    “I think towards the end of the season I will look back in the summer and how we have finished the season and hopefully it is a great end.

    “I will be doing everything I can personally and everyone in the changing room will be collectively to make sure it is one we can remember for the rest of our lives.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.