Match Report: Wales U20 V Scotland U20

Two tries from teenage wing Jamie Farndale in the second half weren't enough to prevent Scotland under-20 going down to a second defeat in the RBS 6 Nations as they lost out to a powerful Welsh side at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay.

Scotland under-20 head coach Peter Wright, though, says his players can take a lot of heart from the way they performed in the latter stages of the game as they look forward to welcoming France to Netherdale on February 24.

 

Wright said, "I think there was a big improvement in the second half, playing the game at a good tempo and with pace.  We lost a couple of soft tries in the first half, two tries we shouldn't have but that's international rugby and the boys aren't necessarily used to playing at that pace week in and week out.

"We dont have the big, physical players like they do all over the park so we have to look to play at a high tempo and play to our strengths and we showed we could hurt them when we played at pace.   But the positives must last longer in the matches and that's what we'll look to do for the next game."

Scotland, skippered by Edinburgh Rugby's Harry Leonard, started strongly and were dominant in terms of territory for the opening 10 minutes of the game.  Points, though, were hard to come by and Leonard struggled to find his range with two penalties in the first five minutes. One fell well short from 45 metres out, the second slid past the upright.  

It was the home side who opened the scoring with impressive Welsh 10, Sam Davies, knocking over a penalty of his own after 9 minutes to to give the packed Parc Eirias something to cheer about.

Just two minutes later the Welsh pack made inroads into the Scottish defence, creating a two man overlap on the left to give Ross Jones, the Welsh full-back, an easy run in. Davies missing the conversion.

Scotland pulled back to within five points when Leonard did manage to get one on target, a penalty on 17 minutes.

Alex Allan was forced off after just 21 minutes, the prop pulling up sharply and he was replaced by Gavin Robertson in the front row.  Sam Davies stretched the home side lead back to 8 points with another penalty, struck from 40 metres out, to make it Wales under-20 11 Scotland under-20 3 after 26 minutes.

With ten minutes to go to half time Luke Morgan, the Welsh winger, scored his first try of the night when another overlap was created and Davies added the conversion to make it 18-3, which would be the scoreline at half-time.

Another Davies penalty 6 minutes after the restart meant a comfortable cushion and a relaxed atmosphere inside the sell-out Parc Eirias, and Wales looked to be at cruise control when Morgan burst through the centre of the Scottish defence from just outside the 22 to race between the posts. The conversion added by Davies.  Wales under-20 28 Scotland under-20 3 after 63 minutes.

The desire shown by the visitors though impressed the crowd and the introduction of Falkirk's Finn Russell at stand-off, with Leonard moving to the centre provided the pace and tempo which Wright had been calling for.  The impressive Matt Torrance, who plays his rugby at Ospreys, also entered the fray and the young Scots began to find themselves pushing their hosts at every opportunity and pinning them deep into their own territory.

On 69 minutes, the ball was taken wide, stretching the Welsh defence, and even though Farndale juggled the ball he managed to touch down in the corner even though, as Wright remarked afterwards, "...he had half of Wales all over him."

The Scots weren't done there and were buoyed by their ability to now run the defence ragged and good work from the forwards in sucking in the defence meant Finn Russell and Leonard could combine to free Farndale into the same corner for his second score of the night, Leonard making the conversion from the touchline.

It was perhaps too little too late with the gap remaining at two converted scores but Scotand will take heart from the pace at which they can play the game when everything clicks into place.

Full time: Wales under-20 28 Scotland under-20 15

Wales under-20:   Ross Jones, Iolo Evans, Luke Williams, Cory Allen, Luke Morgan, Sam Davies, Jonathan Evans, Rob Evans, Kirby Myhill (Capt.), Willgriff John, Matthew Screech, Rhodri Hughes, Ellis Jenkins, Daniel Thomas, Ieuan Jones.

Replacements: Darran Harris, Thomas Davies, Dan Suter, Thomas Young, Dan Crimmins, Joshua Davies, Jordan Williams, Dominic Franchi

Scotland under-20: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jamie Farndale, Robbie Fergusson (SUB 52 Russell), Tommaso Allan, Michael Crawley, Harry Leonard (Capt), Scott Steele (SUB 57 Torrance), Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, Alex Allan (SUB 21 Robertson), Adam Sinclair (SUB 57 Redmayne), Jonny Gray, Mitch Eadie, Will Bordill (SUB 74 Reid), Jamie Swanson.

Replacements: Russell Anderson, Gavin Robertson, Andrew Redmayne, Callum Reid, Struan Cessford, Finn Russell, Matthew Torrance, Tom Steven.

Referee: Ian Tempest.

ATT: 5832