Gatland's men dish out a Six Nations drubbing
- Author: Eleanor Harrison Feb 04, 2018,
Feb 04, 2018, 1:07
Welsh is among six changes to the side that beat Australia as Scotland seek to build on the momentum of three strong home performances in November when they defeated Samoa, nearly upset world champions New Zealand and thrashed the Wallabies.
Scotland made the early running and a break from Jonny Gray nearly put the visitors through for the opening score in the first few exchanges.
The Scots, without a win in the Welsh capital since 2002, never recovered from conceding tries inside the first 12 minutes to Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies and full-back Leigh Halfpenny.
Townsend has potentially taken a gamble by selecting one-cap Newcastle Falcons centre Chris Harris at centre alongside Huw Jones.
Scotland ladies will deploy all their four full-time experts in Friday's opening match of their Six Nations crusade against Wales.
But it was only a temporary reprieve as Wales sacrificed a kickable penalty for an attacking scrum, and then making it pay as they exposed Scotland defensively and Halfpenny claimed his first Wales try for five years, before his conversion made it 14-0 after 12 minutes. Couldn't haul in the final pass for what might have been the try of the championship.
After that whirlwind start, neither side could make any lasting inroads, with the ball going to ground too often and defenders scrambling well when required.
The Scots made a rapid start with a big burst into the 22 by giant lock Jonny Gray in the second minute only for Wales to scramble and flanker Josh Navidi to win a vital turnover. As it was, they entered the half-time break with a 14-0 lead that was fully merited, despite Scotland having longer periods of possession.
To beat Wales as captain for the second successive year - it was his first start in the job last year - would be satisfying for Barclay not to put one over on his mates, but because he knows the effort it will require. Halfpenny lined up an easy three points, and Scotland had a mountain to climb if they were to make a fight of the match.
Try, try... and try again..
Another break needed just one pass to land for Wales, but Gareth Anscombe could not quite gather the ball as they burst forward.
The Scots haven't really discussed Wales' catalogue of injured stars and Barclay thinks numerous Welsh will be motivated to prove a point.
"They've beaten us past year and they're favourites coming to Cardiff and we'll look forward to that".
Scotland did at least avoid the shutout, with Peter Horne scurrying over with a little over a minute remaining for a try that was of little consolation to an overwhelmed Scottish side.