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lakeelmoleader.com February 21, 2018


Logan lauds Hogg and tips Scotland for strong Six Nations challenge

04 February 2018, 01:59 | Marlene Fleming

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend

Wales get their Six Nations campaign off to a superb start with a 34-7 thrashing of Scotland in Saturday's tournament opener at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

Steff Evans, who was excellent throughout the 80 minutes, showed his finishing ability when he dotted down in the corner towards the end of the game.

Scotland thrashed Australia and gave world champions New Zealand a major scare towards the end of previous year - but they were lambs to the slaughter in Cardiff.

Warren Gatland, on the 10th anniversary of his first match as Wales coach, wasn't surprised at all.

Fullback Stuart Hogg returns after missing the 53-24 win over Australia at Murrayfield, with Greig Laidlaw among the substitutes having not played for Scotland since the last Six Nations.

Leigh Halfpenny starred with two trys and 14 points with the boot as Warren Gatland's side quickly forgot they were without 10 first team players.

"That is probably one of the big lessons for us from previous year: the autumn form".

"There was definitely a quiet confidence within the squad, we just kept our heads down and played pretty well".

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"It was an afternoon I was expecting with the way we have trained the last couple of weeks", Gatland said.

Scotland have now lost 16 of their 18 away games in the Six Nations since 2010, their only two victories coming in Italy, and they contributed to their own downfall here as Gareth Davies intercepted Ali Price's pass to surge over.

Wales' inspirational captain Alun Wyn Jones - who was denied a try in the second-half after being held up on the line - credited Wales performance. But his offload wasn't as good as his forwards' support.

They did not have to wait long, however, as Scotland were penalised for an illegal feed into the resulting scrum, allowing Wales to work it left and then back to the right for Halfpenny to crash over.

John Barclay was the transgressor on that occasion and the visiting captain was penalised again shortly afterwards, Halfpenny thumping another kick straight down the middle from just inside the Scotland half. Barclay was penalized twice for hands in the ruck, and his Scarlets clubmate Halfpenny kicked both through the uprights for 20-0.

"They've got the best if not one of the best stadiums in world rugby and it's unbelievable to play down there, so they must get a buzz off it". There was a minor reprieve when the TMO ruled that Huw Jones and Stuart McInally had managed to stop Wyn Jones grounding the ball over the line, and another when Alun Wyn Jones broke through midfield but Gareth Anscombe couldn't collect his pass with a clear run to the whitewash.

Wales are without a swathe of injured players, including British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton and centre Jonathan Davies, and some see the Scots as dark horses to win their first ever Six Nations title, but the home team can take heart from the fact their opponents have not won in Cardiff since 2002.



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