Leigh Halfpenny Wins Kicking Duel (Scotland vs Wales)

There wasn’t too many pretty moments as Scotland had an embarrassing afternoon of Rugby, but eventually Leigh Halfpenny got over the first half misses and knocked back each and every opportunity he had in the final 40 minutes to keep Wales in the running for the Six Nations title after a 28-18 win.

Road wins aren’t easy to come by in the Six Nations, but Wales have now won five in a row, thanks to Sam Warburton, who won the man of the match after making his return to the starting lineup and a very good defensive performance from the likes of Adam Jones. Wales didn’t have too many moments of great possession that didn’t involve drawing out penalties from the Scottish side (setting a new 6 nations record for penalty calls), but in one of them they surged through the middle to give Richard Hibbard a chance to score a try.

Scotland weren’t in the match, not really. They managed to hang on with Greig Laidlaw hitting penalty after penalty (making six on the day), but even he ran out of ammunition at some point. When you have your first meaningful passing phase only seven minutes before the end of the match, and most of the time Laidlaw and Weir looked quite confused as what to do with the ball and how to spread it out wide, there’s no chance you’re winning a Welsh side that has regained its confidence after consecutive losses in test matches that suddenly ended when they had to play France away.

In the battle of fullbacks, which was at the center of the meeting, Halfpenny, hands down, claimed his spot for the Lions tour. Stuart Hogg didn’t look anything like the young man who energized Scotland through the first three matches, while Halfpenny was great in the air, and obviously with his kicking, most of the time at least. Scotland continue to have interesting, speedy tools to use on the wings, but without the talent in the middle to use them. Grit couldn’t make up for that lacking after two wins, which seems to be the ceiling at the moment for Scottish Rugby.

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