Morning Chronicle - Biggar stars as champions Wales edge Scotland in Six Nations

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Biggar stars as champions Wales edge Scotland in Six Nations
Biggar stars as champions Wales edge Scotland in Six Nations

Biggar stars as champions Wales edge Scotland in Six Nations

Dan Biggar's drop-goal 10 minutes from time proved decisive as Wales revived their Six Nations title defence with a 20-17 win over Scotland at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

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Biggar, in his 100th international appearance, kicked 15 points in a match where Wales' only other score was a try from prop Tomas Francis, as the title-holders bounced back from their opening 29-7 loss to Ireland in Dublin.

Defeat meant Scotland's 20-year wait for a win in Cardiff continued after they had arrived in the Welsh capital buoyed by a 20-17 defeat of England at Murrayfield last week.

This match was all square at 17-17 when Biggar's 66th-minute penalty from fully 50 metres hit the crossbar.

From the rebound, the ball was worked out to Alex Cuthbert but the wing was forced into touch short of the line.

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell, however, had conceded a penalty following a deliberate knock-on and was shown a yellow card by Australian referee Nic Berry.

Biggar kicked for an attacking line-out and although Wales couldn't find a way through for a try, his close range drop-goal nudged them three points ahead.

A first half of fluctuating fortunes ended all square at 14-14.

Scotland wing Darcy Graham scored an unconverted try with Biggar and opposing fly-half Finn Russell landing three penalties apiece.

Biggar, the ninth Welshman to make 100 Test appearances, led a side showing four changes from the team that lost at Lansdowne Road, with Cuthbert, centre Owen Watkin, back-row Ross Moriarty and uncapped flanker Jac Morgan in the starting XV.

Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist won his 50th cap as coach Gregor Townsend made five changes to the team that retained the Calcutta Cup, including a new front row of Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally and WP Nel.

With the stadium's retractable roof left open as a Covid safety measure, a match played in front of a near capacity crowd of 73,782 kicked off with rain falling on the pitch.

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg appeared fortunate early on to escape sanction for what appeared to be a deliberate knock-on.

But the ensuing scrum led to a fourth-minute penalty, with Biggar on target from 40 metres, and he doubled Wales' lead soon afterwards.

Scotland, however, hit back in the 12th minute.

After left wing Duhan van der Merwe burst clear down the touchline, Russell's excellent floated pass found the diminutive Graham, who held off the challenge of Louis Rees-Zammit before going in at the corner.

Russell missed the conversion but Wales' lead had been cut to 6-5.

Sustained Scotland pressure led to three penalties, with Biggar pulling one back for Wales, as the visitors went 14-9 up.

But when Wales next won a penalty, Biggar kicked for an attacking line-out rather than go for goal.

And from the ensuing catch and maul, Francis was driven over for a 32nd-minute try. Biggar missed the difficult conversion to leave the match level at 14-14.

Russell's fourth successful penalty early in a scrappy second half gave Scotland a three-point lead before a rare Welsh break-out almost led to a 57th-minute try for Cuthbert, who just failed to collect scrum-half Tomos Williams' kick ahead.

But Scotland had been offside and Biggar's fourth successful penalty tied the scores at 17-17.

Scotland's line held firm in a tribute to their Welsh defence coach Steve Tandy but they could do nothing about Biggar's drop-goal before Wales forced a breakdown penalty after 80 minutes to seal victory.