Scotland under-16 missed a last minute chance to complete a sensational comeback against Wales in the opening match of the Wellington Festival this morning (27-26).
The Welshmen raced into a 27-0 lead in the first half thanks to a pair of penalties and a trio of tries, before the young Scots hit back with four unanswered scores of their own.
All but one of the conversions were slotted by stand-off Adam Hastings, with the last minute effort agonisingly off target.
Scotland under-16 assistant coach, Roddy Deans, said: “In the first 20 minutes of their first outing in international rugby the players were caught in the headlights a little bit against a very expansive Welsh team, but they quickly got back to their feet, got some composure and showed great guts and heart to fight back.
“To come out and score 19 unanswered points in the second half showed great resilience and, while the boys are clearly gutted not to get the win, they will take a lot of confidence and pride from that performance.” -- under-16 assistant coach, Roddy Deans,
After putting over their early penalties, two of the Welsh tries were scored with a man advantage after hooker Craig Cowan was sent to the sin bin, before they crossed for third, four minutes from the break.
The young Scots began their remarkable comeback, after big winger Robbie Nairn crossed the try line just before half-time and stand-off Adam Hastings added the extras.
Half-time: Wales U16 27-7 Scotland U16
The Scottish resurgence sparked late in the first half was continued in the second, with tries from replacement back-row Josh Henderson and open-side flanker Angus Neilson.
Both scores were converted by Hastings before number 8 Zach Mercer powered over with moments to spare to put the game on a knife edge (27-26).
Sadly Hasting’s final kick of the game was off target, leaving the Scots short by a single point.
Full-time: Wales U16 (27) 27-26 (0) Scotland
Scotland under-16 will next face England South on Wednesday (3 April, kick-off 2.30pm) in the second of three international clashes.
Scotland Under-16: 15 Saul Melvin-Farr; 14 Jacob Adamson, 13 Sam Trowbridge, 12 Cameron Gray, 11 Robbie Nairn; 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Henry Sampson; 1 Lyall Archer 2 Craig Cowan, 3 Adam Nicol, 4 Scott Cummings, 5 Andrew Davidson, 6 Lewis Wynne, 7 Angus Nielson CAPTAIN, 8 Zach Mercer . Substitutes from: 16 Jack Solman, 17 Fergus Bradbury, 18 Ross Gordon, 19 Lee Scott, 20 Scott McGinley, 21 Josh Henderson, 22 Dan Nutton, 23 Callum Harris, 24 Charlie Lonergan, 25 Bruce Sorbie, 26 Luke Taylor .
Wellington International Festival
Wednesday 3 April – Scotland U16 v England South U16 (kick-off 2.30pm)
Friday 5 April – Scotland U16 v France U16 (kick-off 10.30am)
Coaching team: Gary Mercer (head coach), Roddy Deans (assistant coach), Jamie Dempsey (assistant coach).