Fortress Murrayfield repels the Welsh

Scotland once again punched above their weight at home, sending Wales packing 21-9 in an abysmal Six Nations game on Saturday and maintaining an impressive Six Nations record at Murrayfield.

Seven penalties from Chris Paterson put paid to the Welsh, who simply could not find any cohesion and were left steam-rollered by some crunching Scottish defence.

All week this has been billed as a game to thrill, with both sides opting to go for an attacking approach and throw caution to the wind, which was blowing strong at a wet Murrayfield.

Yet it transpired into a poor and frustrating encounter that Scotland deserved to win on two counts, Chris Paterson’s kicking and the shocking standard of play produced by Wales.

Wales were poor, verging on the brink of abysmal, the fact Scotland were only marginally better afforded them a shaky platform from which Paterson was able to win the game with his flawless kicking display, the only area of the game that was mistake free.

The rest of this dour affair was infested with basic errors and needless infringements, made increasingly more by Wales as the game wore on and kick by kick slipped from their grasp.

Credit must be given to Scotland for the way the bounced back from their demoralising defeat against England, but one can only think that a performance better than that which Wales offered would have been enough to beat Scotland.

Only one area of the Welsh game will come away from Edinburgh with any credit and that was there defence, but for the most it was only when they were under severe pressure that they started defending with any intent. Too often in the middle of the park Wales were left wanting in the tackle.

Yet when there line was under threat the defence picked up several notches as a handful of players earned themselves some credit for their efforts, notably Martyn Williams and Mark Jones.

Where as Wales never once looked like scoring a try Scotland at least had chances, but were sadly unable to take them. After leading 6-0 with a quarter of the match gone, through two Paterson penalties, Rob Dewey made the first telling break leading to Paterson coming within inches of scoring.

Dewey brushed aside the half hearted attempt of a tackle from Dwayne Peel and thundered into the 22. As the ball was moved wide it seemed as if Scotland must score with a two man overlap, yet their backs drifted across the pitch eating up what room was left before Paterson took the ball. But for a monstrous tackle from Mark Jones, one of the games highlights, Paterson would have scored.

Stephen Jones finally got Wales on the scoreboard with a simple shot at goal, but that was soon cancelled out by Paterson’s third effort, this time Wales were guilty of being offside in the backs.

As half time approached Jones added a second penalty to pull Wales within three points, the closest they would come to Scotland for the remainder of this encounter.

The second half was slightly better than the first, as Scotland mounted several raids on the Welsh line, the closest resulting in Allan Jacobsen being held up over the line by a heroic double tackle from Tom Shanklin and Alun Wyn-Jones.

Chris Paterson, who was at the heart of the few bright moments in the game, came agonizingly close moments before Jacobsen was held up after gathering a poor Jamie Robinson pass. Having chipped and gathered he seemed certain to score but a slight stumble and a brave tackle from Stephen Jones denied the Scottish captain.

As it was it was left to the boot of Paterson to add the nails to the Welsh coffin, one by one. Stephen Jones, for the record, did add a third Welsh penalty moments before Rhys Thomas gave Paterson his sixth, which earned Thomas a spell in the sin-bin.

With the game up and Scotland assured of victory it was only fitting that Paterson put the final nail in the coffin with his fin

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