Advertisement

Scotland survive thrilling Wales comeback to finally end 22-year Cardiff hoodoo

Scotland players hold aloft the Doddie Weir Cup/Scotland survive thrilling Wales comeback to finally end Cardiff hoodoo – latest reaction
Scotland players hold aloft the Doddie Weir Cup after victory over Wales - AFP/Adrian Dennis

If you wondered why it had taken Scotland so long to topple Wales in Cardiff, well, this white-knuckle ride told you everything.

They had not won here at the Principality Stadium since 2002, before the new Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins was even born, yet from the start Scotland hammered Wales in almost every single area until the 50-minute mark, with Finn Russell effortlessly dictating the show behind a hard-working pack and Duhan van der Merwe’s two tries – the second a superb, weaving sprint for the line – helping Scotland into a 27-0 lead.

Such was their dominance that record Scottish away wins over Wales were being discussed at half-time. A collapse from there would be catastrophic, wouldn’t it? Well, this was as dangerously close as Scotland could have come to utter disaster because a callow, stuttering Wales side woke up.

Being almost four converted tries down appeared to be an insurmountable mountain until Wales rallied behind a fixed lineout and a maul which Scotland simply didn’t know how to stop. In a championship for Warren Gatland’s side which is all about building for the future this display of fight will have been immensely encouraging, scoring 26 points in 20 minutes with the maul producing three tries and Rio Dyer scampering over for another.

Wales came so close to pulling off a famous comeback win
Wales came so close to pulling off a famous comeback win - PA/David Davies

That spirited display came after a first half which was so poor that afterwards Gatland felt the need to publicly apologise speaking to S4C. “I think I can apologise for the first half, it’s probably one of the worst performances, 40 minutes, in my whole rugby career as a coach,’’ Gatland said. “We were terrible, shocking. Discipline was poor, didn’t nail some things, so the message at half-time was to do what we wanted to do in the first, bring some tempo, play with a bit of intensity and play some rugby, nothing flashy.”

Going from 0-27 to 26-27 left Scotland properly wobbling, and on the verge of suffering ignominy of allowing the largest-ever comeback in Six Nations history.

How to feel afterwards then if you were Russell and the Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, having banished a 22-year hoodoo by winning in the Welsh capital while also nearly giving their Scottish supporters high enough heart rates to send them to hospital.

Russell, captaining Scotland for the first time in the Six Nations, addressed the way the second half unravelled by citing complacency and discipline issues – no sooner had George Turner returned from his yellow card then Sione Tuipulotu was also off –
but the positives had to be stressed.

“It showed we have come quite a long way to win that game at the end. We managed to find a way to win. That is the pleasing thing,” Russell said.

For Gregor Townsend, the fly-half for that previous win in 2002 and an assistant when Scottish hearts were broken by Shane Williams late in 2010, amid the concerns about the collapse and penalties – they lost the penalty count 16 to four, including nine in the second half which he described as a “crazy stat” – there was one prevailing emotion.

“I feel a lot of pride that we have managed to get the win in this stadium,” Townsend said. One negative however is Jamie Ritchie’s injury, a blow to his bicep which the head coach suggested “doesn’t look good for this championship”.

Scotland’s spell of dominance should not be ignored because of the way their lead disintegrated. Their defence was rock solid, either forcing knock-ons or making Wales revert to what Gatland described as “safety mode”.

Pierre Schoeman went over for the first of Scotland's three tries
Pierre Schoeman went over for the first of Scotland's three tries - PA/Joe Giddens

Russell had the game on a string with his kicking game, dictating proceedings with the boot just as he had done in Scotland’s record win over Wales the previous year at Murrayfield, with one exceptional 50:22. His late shifts in direction with ball in hand can wreck defences, as was the case for Van der Merwe’s tries. The giant wing had never scored before against Wales. His second was another classic from long-range to add his growing collection of world-class finishes. When Scotland play as they did in the first 50, the scrum aside they genuinely had an air of being title contenders.

Duhan van der Merwe scores his second and Scotland's third try
Duhan van der Merwe scores his second and Scotland's third try - PA/David Davies

As for Wales, it will hurt young Jenkins and his side now but as Gatland noted afterwards: “To do what we did, be 27-0 down, other teams might have shown less character and start thinking about next week, even throw in the towel. We didn’t do that. They kept fighting and put themselves in a position to win. That showed real character.” Josh Adams’ rash moment chucking a ball into the stands after Russell’s 50:22, crucially gifted Scotland three points. “What is the difference between the game?” Gatland noted. “There’s some positive learnings from that.”

To score three tries through the maul showed where Wales can hurt teams and where Scotland desperately need to improve. Aaron Wainwright, the player of the match, was magnificent and carried like a bolted horse for much of the second half. Alex Mann’s bonus-score on debut as the maul fired again, cutting that large deficit to just a single point, and was met with a roar which tested the roof’s nuts and bolts to their limit.

Yet it wasn’t Wales’ day. Scotland, on the verge of throwing another opportunity away, this time held their nerve. For their long-term development – no longer merely hopeful for success but getting it done, just about – it could end up proving to be an enormous moment.

Match details

Scoring sequence: 0-3 Russell pen, 0-8 Schoeman try, 0-10 Russell con, 0-13 Russell pen, 0-18 Van der Merwe try, 0-20 Russell con, 0-25 Van der Merwe try, 0-27 Russell con, 5-27 Botham try, 10-27 Dyer try, 12-27 Lloyd con, 17-27 Wainwright try, 19-27 Lloyd con, 24-27 Mann try, 26-27 Lloyd con

Wales: C Winnett; J Adams, O Watkin (M Grady 51), N Tompkins, R Dyer; S Costelow (I Lloyd 36), G Davies (To Williams 40); C Domachowski, R Elias (E Dee 40), L Brown (K Assiratti 40), D Jenkins (c), A Beard (A Mann 50), J Botham (Te Williams 49), T Reffell, A Wainwright.
Not used: K Mathias

Scotland: K Rowe; K Steyn, H Jones, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; F Russell (c), B White (G Horne 70); P Schoeman (A Hepburn 62), G Turner (E Ashman 70), Z Fagerson (E Millar-Mills 70), R Gray (S Skinner 32), S Cummings, L Crosbie (C Redpath 72), J Ritchie (J Dempsey 62), M Fagerson.
Not used: B Healy.

Yellow card: Turner 49, Tuipulotu.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZ).

Attendance: 74,500


Wales 26-27 Scotland: As it happened


07:08 PM GMT

Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins speaking to the BBC

“It’s an extremely disappointing result but I’m incredibly proud of the boys in the second half, we could have given up but we showed good fight.

“We hadn’t played any rugby in the first half and our penalty count was too high, second half we sped up the ball a lot and we have a young team with no fear and we’ll look to build from this.

“This Scotland team is one of the best but I’m still extremely disappointed.”


07:02 PM GMT

Wales winger Josh Adams speaking to S4C

“Half time that game could have been a bad score had we continued the way we were going.

“Second half we tried to play with tempo and get at Scotland. We were too complacent in the first half, kicked too much when we could have played.

“We wanted to play with the ball a bit more in the second half after not throwing anything against Scotland in the first half.

“The boys from the bench made a huge impact on the game and got us right back in the game, hopefully we can carry that on to next week.


06:55 PM GMT

Scotland captain Finn Russell speaking to the BBC

“Probably a little bit disappointed to be honest. The win is brilliant but that second half was nowhere near where we need o be. First half, we controlled the game and second half discipline was poor.

“When we scored that try early in the second half we probably just got a bit complacent to be honest. We probably thought the game was done but there was a long way to go, especially against them at home.

“I guess the pleasing thing at the end is we managed to hold them out. There was a lot of positives but we have to get better.

“The frustrating thing is that is the points I was making weren’t being listened too.

“I told them to leave the ruck and they still kept on going in at the ruck and we get a yellow card for going in at the ruck too many times and for offside.

“It is something we will have to review as a team and when we are getting messages from coaches and players we have to listen to it.


06:54 PM GMT

All Scotland fans right now?


06:50 PM GMT

Talk about a dramatic match


06:47 PM GMT

Scotland winning it for Doddie


06:46 PM GMT

Man-of-the-match

Despite ending up on the wrong end of the result, Wales number eight Aaron Wainwright has been named man-of-the-match. He has been speaking to the BBC:

“We probably wanted the game to go on for another five minutes. We left ourselves too much to do in that second half. Obviously we came out in the second half a bit better but left ourselves too much to do.

“We were just inaccurate and a lot of their ball came from our own errors. As the scoreboard kept ticking the belief grew.”


06:38 PM GMT

Full-time

The ball is held up and it is no try. That is the end of a dramatic game, not that anyone expected it to be 43 minutes into this game. Scotland hold on, just.


06:37 PM GMT

80 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

Into the red and has van der Merwe sealed the victory for Scotland and their bonus-point try. It is going to the TMO and the on-field view is no try...


06:36 PM GMT

79 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

Scotland have the penalty advantage from the scrum and Russell sends Steyn through a gap. Scotland have it just a few metres out from the Wales line with just seconds left...


06:34 PM GMT

78 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

Multiple resets, which is killing more time. That really annoys a lot of rugby fans is the time wasted resetting scrums.


06:34 PM GMT

78 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

Into the final two minutes. This game could go either way. Who will win?


06:33 PM GMT

77 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

A forward pass from Lloyd and Scotland will have a scrum inside Wales’ half.


06:32 PM GMT

76 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

Scotland lose a line-out inside their own half and the Welsh fans are demanding a penalty for a high tackle from Redpath but referee Ben O’Keefe does not agree.


06:30 PM GMT

75 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

Wales lose the line-out and Scotland can clear.


06:30 PM GMT

74 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

Russell makes a terrible decision and his attempted kick through is blocked. Reffell then wins Wales a penalty at the breakdown and Wales can kick into the Scotland half. Just over five minutes to go.


06:27 PM GMT

71 minutes: Wales 26 Scotland 27

Play is stopped as Crosbie is down injured. Scotland were down to 13 men during that phase of play. Tuipulotu is back from his sin-bin. Whilst there has been a pause in play the cameras have panned to American actor Willem Dafoe in the stands, aka the Green Goblin from the original Spider-Man films with Tobey Maguire as the lead.

Crosbie has gone off and Redpath has come on for Scotland, which is not like-for-like but due to injuries they have had to do that. Tuipulotu is now playing in the back-row.


06:22 PM GMT

Try Wales

Another try for the home side. Beard catches the line-out five metres out and it is debutant Mann who goes over for Wales’ bonus-point try. Lloyd’s conversion is successful and this is a one-point game. 26-27.


06:20 PM GMT

68 minutes: Wales 19 Scotland 27

Another penalty advantage inside the Scotland 22 after a great break from debutant Winnett and Dyer down the left-hand touchline. Wales cannot take advantage so Ben O’Keefe goes back to the original penalty for a tackle on the ground. Lloyd kicks to the corner...


06:17 PM GMT

65 minutes: Wales 19 Scotland 27

This game has gone bonkers. When van der Merwe scored Scotland’s third just after half-time, this game was dead and buried. But now it is very much back on.


06:15 PM GMT

62 minutes: Wales 19 Scotland 27

A few more changes for Scotland. Hepburn is on for his debut and Dempsey is on in the back-row.


06:14 PM GMT

Try Wales

Who saw this coming when Scotland were 27-0 up? It is Wales number eight Wainwright who goes over under the posts and it is the easiest of conversions for Lloyd. It is now 19-27 and Scotland are back down to 14 men.


06:13 PM GMT

59 minutes: Wales 12 Scotland 27

Wales have another penalty advantage as there are multiple offsides from Scotland. It comes to nothing so Ben O’Keefe goes back for the penalty and Tuipulotu is sent to the bin...


06:11 PM GMT

59 minutes: Wales 12 Scotland 27

Wales have a penalty on the edge of the Scotland 22 and referee Ben O’Keefe is giving Scotland captain Russell a warning that a yellow card could be coming. Scotland hooker Turner is back from is sin-bin. Wales are going for the corner. Scotland thought it had gone the wrong side of the corner flag but it is a line-out five metres out...


06:05 PM GMT

Try Dyer

Wales get it wide and Tomos Williams sends a long pass out wide to give Dyer an easy finish in the corner. Are Wales back in this game? From right out on the touchline Lloyds lands the conversion. Great kick. It is now 12-27.


06:03 PM GMT

53 minutes: Wales 5 Scotland 27

Grady has come on for Watkin at outside centre for Wales. They have a penalty advantage as the maul creeps closer to the line. They get over the line but cannot get the ball down. Ben O’Keefe goes back for the penalty and Wales take it quickly...


06:02 PM GMT

52 minutes: Wales 5 Scotland 27

Wales are awarded the penalty against the head at the scrum and will kick into Scotland’s 22, just over metres out from Scotland’s line.


06:01 PM GMT

51 minutes: Wales 5 Scotland 27

With Turner in the bin, Ashman has been brought on for the scrum and it is Crosbie who has been sacrificed.


06:00 PM GMT

50 minutes: Wales 5 Scotland 27

Skinner is penalised for a high tackle and the Wales fans are demanding more than just a penalty. But Wales go quickly and it will be no more than a penalty.


05:59 PM GMT

49 minutes: Wales 5 Scotland 27

That was Botham’s last act as he is replaced by Teddy Williams.


05:58 PM GMT

Try Wales

Wales have their first try of the game as they win the line-out and push over for Botham to score. Turner is sent to the bin. A small glimmer of hope for the hosts? Lloyd’s conversion is no good. 5-27.

Wales celebrate their first try of the match
Wales get their first try of the game - Joe Giddens/PA

05:56 PM GMT

47 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 27

Wales have another penalty for not rolling away inside the Scotland 22. Wales have to go to the corner as three points will do them no good.


05:55 PM GMT

46 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 27

Wales have a penalty just inside the Scotland half and they kick into the Scotland 22.


05:53 PM GMT

Try Scotland

Van der Merwe has his second of the game and that is game over. From a loose Wales kick Russell finds van der Merwe inside, who makes the break. He goes around the outside of T Williams and scores Scotland’s third try. Russell’s conversion is good. Scotland lead 27-0.


05:51 PM GMT

41 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

Wales have made some changes at the break. Tomos Williams replaces Davies at scrum-half, Dee has replaced Elias at hooker and Assiratti has come on for Brown at tighthead prop. Costelow has failed his HIA so Lloyd is on permanently.


05:49 PM GMT

Second half

We are back under way at the Principality Stadium. Wales have a huge task getting back into this game and Scotland are massive favourites to win their opening game of the 2024 Six Nations.


05:40 PM GMT

Scotland's second try


05:34 PM GMT

Half-time

Wales win the line-out but Tompkins knocks on which brings an end to the half. Scotland in complete control of this game so far.


05:34 PM GMT

40 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

Just as the clock goes into the red Wales win a penalty just inside their own half and kick for touch, this time finding it on the Scotland 22.


05:32 PM GMT

39 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

Wales have one last chance before the half as they have a penalty which they decide to kick to the corner. But they miss touch and Scotland can get rid of the danger.


05:30 PM GMT

38 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

Wales’ issues at the line-out continue at a crucial moment and Scotland clear.


05:30 PM GMT

38 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

Wales are awarded a penalty from the scrum 10 metres out after they were given a free-kick. They kick to the corner, five metres out...


05:28 PM GMT

36 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

Ben O’Keefe has decided that there was no foul play by Crosbie in the clear-out. The referee felt that Crosbie could not have done anything else and it was not an act of foul play.


05:26 PM GMT

36 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

The TMO is stepping in and there will be a review for head contact by Crosbie on Costelow. Scotland’s back-row could be in trouble...


05:25 PM GMT

34 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

Wales are given a penalty as Cummings is penalised for offside. Costelow finds touch inside the Scotland 22 and Wales badly need points if they are to have any chance of getting back in the game.

But the line-out is overthrown and Scotland can clear their lines.


05:22 PM GMT

32 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 20

Scotland scored that try with 14 men on the field as Gray was injured. He has been replaced by Skinner.


05:21 PM GMT

Try Scotland

Scotland win the line-out against the head and make their way into the Wales 22. Russell makes a break through the line with a clever dummy and has an easy two-on-one which he executes, giving van der Merwe an easy run-in. Scotland are completely in control of this game. Russell’s conversion is successful from right in front of the posts. Scotland lead 20-0.


05:18 PM GMT

29 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 13

Wales go through a number of phases inside the Scotland 22 but eventually knock on. Scotland kick long through Russell into the Wales half and they get rid of the danger.


05:16 PM GMT

27 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 13

Despite a good carry from Schoeman, Wales are awarded a penalty after good work at the breakdown from Reffell. An opportunity for Wales to create an attack with an attacking line-out on the Scotland 22.


05:11 PM GMT

Penalty Scotland

Another fairly easy three points for Russell and Scotland lead 13-0.


05:10 PM GMT

21 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 10

A fantastic kick from inside his own half from Russell earns Scotland a 50-22. Moments later Scotland are then awarded a penalty after the ball was thrown away by Adams to stop the quick throw. Russell points to the posts to go for three...


05:04 PM GMT

16 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 10

Wales are awarded a penalty for a high tackle from Rowe. The Wales fans want more than a penalty but Ben O’Keefe is happy with just the penalty. Wales kick the penalty into the Scotland 22 and this is their first chance this close to Scotland’s line.

But after a few phases they knock on around five metres from Scotland’s line and the chance has gone.


05:01 PM GMT

Try Scotland

The try is awarded as Schoeman reached for the line.

Russell’s conversion is successful. Scotland lead 10-0.


04:59 PM GMT

11 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 3

Scotland think they have scored. Or have they? Ben O’Keefe goes to the TMO...


04:58 PM GMT

11 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 3

Domachowski is back on his feet.

Scotland make a break into the Wales 22 after Russell found Rowe. Scotland are within a couple of metres of the Wales line...


04:56 PM GMT

9 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 3

Scotland get within five metres of Wales’ line but are then penalised. Big let-off for Wales.

Play has been stopped after an injury to Wales loosehead prop Domachowski.

Loads of chip kicks already from Finn Russell, which was how was Scotland thrashed Wales last year at Murrayfield. Imagine that Gregor Townsend will be annoyed at that soft penalty by Zander Fagerson for a double movement given that Scotland were in a sharp position.

Also, one of those high bombs from Sam Costelow has made me wonder - can you actually hit the roof here?


04:54 PM GMT

8 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 3

Another very soft penalty and another offside from Wales, this time their captain Jenkins. Referee Ben O’Keefe is warning Jenkins that they are on the verge of a yellow card. Russell gets good distance on the kick and Scotland have a line-out halfway into Wales’ 22.


04:51 PM GMT

Penalty Scotland

Russell’s penalty kick is successful and Scotland take an early lead. 0-3.


04:51 PM GMT

5 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 0

Scotland are awarded another penalty inside the Wales 22 as Costelow is offside. Russell points to the posts.


04:49 PM GMT

4 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 0

First penalty of the game is awarded to Scotland as Wales are penalised for offside. Scotland kick to the edge of the Wales 22.


04:47 PM GMT

2 minutes: Wales 0 Scotland 0

Scotland get the better of an early kick exchange and have a line-out inside the Wales half. Russell’s crossfield kick finds Steyn, who passes inside to Jones. He looks like he is going to make a break into the Wales 22 but he knocks on and Wales can clear.


04:45 PM GMT

Kick-off

We are under way at the Principality Stadium as the final game of round one of the 2024 Six Nations begins.


04:39 PM GMT

Anthem time

Both sides have emerged from the tunnel at the Principality Stadium and it is time for the national anthems. Before the anthems respect is being paid to the former Wales players who have died in the last year, including JPR Williams.

Scotland’s ‘Flower of Scotland’ followed by Wales’ ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’.

Both sides emerge from the tunnel at the Principality Stadium
Both sides emerge at the Principality Stadium - David Davies/PA

04:35 PM GMT

Reminder of the team news

Wales: Winnett; Dyer, Watkin, Tompkins, Adams; Costelow, G Davies; Domachowski, Elias, Brown, D Jenkins (capt), Beard, Botham, Reffell, Wainwright.

Replacements: Dee, Mathias, Assiratti, Teddy Williams, Mann, Tomos Williams, I Lloyd, Grady.

Scotland: Rowe, Steyn, Jones, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe, Russell, White; Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, R Gray, Cummings, Crosbie, Ritchie, M Fagerson.

Replacements: Ashman, Hepburn, Millar-Mills, Skinner, Dempsey, Horne, Healy, Redpath.


04:34 PM GMT

More from Gregor Townsend speaking to the BBC, including a u-turn on the roof

“The weather changed. Nobody wants to play in rain if they can avoid it. We’d have preferred a dry day, but we’re all happy now.

“We believe this team has experience of winning in venues we’ve not had great records in, so this is another one to challenge us today.

“The squad selection doesn’t win games. It’s what you do in the 80 minutes that count.

“Finn won’t change how he plays [as captain]. He leads our attack anyway, he’s a good connector with his team-mates and referees.”


04:30 PM GMT

Toss completed


04:24 PM GMT

The thoughts of Wales head-coach Warren Gatland

“We are at home and Scotland haven’t won here in Cardiff for a long time. It is a full stadium and we’ve got a responsibility to go and deliver a performance.

“The enthusiasm of this young group of players has been exceptional over the last few weeks. I am really excited about this group that we’ve got, building with some youngsters who I think are really going to grow, develop and impress.

“Those young players get out there and learn what it is like to play in front of 75,000 people where things are happening quicker than you would normally experience.

“I think they can go out there with no fear with the way they have prepared.”


04:19 PM GMT

The thoughts of Scotland head-coach Gregor Townsend

“We don’t talk about why we’ve struggled in Cardiff in the past but we talk about the record.

“Not many have played throughout those years, although a few played here two years ago when we we didn’t perform and produce our best rugby.

“You have defeats and wins in your Test career and the one against Ireland [the 36-14 loss at the 2023 World Cup] is more in our minds than the one two years ago, and certainly those 10 or 20 years before that.”


04:17 PM GMT

Inside the visitors' dressing room


04:09 PM GMT

Elsewhere in the Six Nations

The 2024 Six Nations got underway last night in Marseille as defending champions Ireland beat 14-man France 38-17. Tries from Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Beirne, Calvin Nash, Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher gave Andy Farrell’s side a bonus point and a convincing victory. Ireland now look like hot favourites not only to win the Six Nations but complete consecutive Grand Slams.

France’s cause was not helped in the first half after Paul Willemse’s sending off. Having already been sent to the bin, Willemse was then shown a second yellow card which was later upgraded to a red. Ireland’s second game is at home against Italy next Sunday whilst France travel to Murrayfield to take on Scotland next Saturday.

In the last few moments, England have beaten Italy in Rome 27-24. England were 10-0 down during the first half and were three points behind at the break but came through to get the victory. England host Wales next weekend in round two.


03:57 PM GMT

Home side have arrived


03:51 PM GMT

Visitors arrive at the Principality Stadium


03:45 PM GMT

Fancy a flutter?

Having a bet on today’s match? First take a look at these free bets and betting offers.


03:39 PM GMT

Team news

Dayffd Jenkins becomes Wales’ second-youngest captain aged 21 as he starts in the second-row alongside Adam Beard. George North has been ruled out with injury and is replaced by Owen Watkin in the centres. Cardiff full-back Cameron Winnett makes his debut. James Botham, grandson of England cricket legend Ian Botham, starts in the back-row.

Finn Russell captains Scotland at fly-half and there are set to be debuts off the bench for Exeter’s Alec Hepburn and Northampton’s Elliot Millar-Mills.

Scotland full-back Blair Kinghorn, who is now playing his club rugby in France with Toulouse, will miss the opening two games of the tournament whilst back-row Rory Darge could be fit next weekend.

Wales: Winnett; Dyer, Watkin, Tompkins, Adams; Costelow, G Davies; Domachowski, Elias, Brown, D Jenkins (capt), Beard, Botham, Reffell, Wainwright.

Replacements: Dee, Mathias, Assiratti, Teddy Williams, Mann, Tomos Williams, I Lloyd, Grady.

Scotland: Rowe, Steyn, Jones, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe, Russell, White; Schoeman, Turner, Z Fagerson, R Gray, Cummings, Crosbie, Ritchie, M Fagerson.

Replacements: Ashman, Hepburn, Millar-Mills, Skinner, Dempsey, Horne, Healy, Redpath.


03:28 PM GMT

Match preview

There has been a changing of the guard in the Wales ranks ahead of their opening match of the 2024 Six Nations this evening at the Principality Stadium against Scotland. Their head coach Warren Gatland has named a team with an average age of 25 as the likes of Dan Bigger and Leigh Halfpenny have retired. This time a year ago eight of their starters were aged over 30 and boasted more than 950 caps, compared to 413 now. The likes of George North and Taulupe Faletau are injured and Liam Williams and Tomos Francis are not available.

During last year’s Six Nations, Warren Gatland had to contend with the threat of the Wales players striking ahead of the England game due to an ongoing player contract situation. Gatland has admitted this time around it has been much calmer.

“It has been easier [this year] because we haven’t had those things happening off the field, none of those distractions,” he said.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland during a team run at the Principality Stadium
Wales head coach Warren Gatland has a much -changed squad from a year ago - David Davies/PA

“Yes, we’ve lost a considerable amount of experience and players have moved on.

“But a lot of teams go through cycles and we’re at the start of an exciting cycle with this group of players.”

Despite Wales’ inexperience, Scotland fly-half Finn Russell believes that this young Welsh side have nothing to lose today.

“Wales will be playing with freedom and with nothing to lose,” he said. “We have to lean on our experience, but on the other side they’ll be doing the opposite and having a go. It’s a very dangerous team.

“When the Welsh boys put that red jersey on they become different to when they are at their clubs. We can’t take this Welsh team lightly at all. It’s a massive challenge to come down here and win - but an exciting one.

“We have a few new faces on the back of a disappointing World Cup. We have a point to prove - both teams have.”

Scotland are hoping to end a long, barren run without victory in Cardiff this evening; they have not won at the Principality Stadium in 22 years and 11 attempts.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.