Scotland: (12) 12
Tries: Dixon, Bell Goals: Brierley 2
Wales: (8) 50
Tries: Williams 3, Jenkins 2, Butler, Ralph 2, Evans Goals: Olds 7
Scotland suffered their second successive defeat in this season’s Rugby League European Championship when they lost 50-12 to Wales on a disappointing night in Galashiels.
After leading 12-8 at half time, the Scots were blown away by a tremendous second half display from Wales in which the visitors racked up 42 unanswered points to equal their previous record win against the Scots, a 60-22 victory in 2010.
With this season’s European Championship doubling up as a World Cup qualifying competition, Scotland will now face a play-off game next year if they are to compete in the finals in England in 2021.
It was a result that was all the more disappointing as the Bravehearts had built up a 12-point lead in the opening nine minutes through tries from debutants Davey Dixon and James Bell, both of which were converted by Ryan Brierley.
Dixon went over in the corner after just three minutes to finish off a flowing move, and the advantage was doubled when a storming run from Ben Kavanagh took the Scots to within inches of the try line, and Kane Bentley set up James Bell to power over the line from close range.
But Wales were on the scoreboard by the midway point of the half, with Rhys Williams touching down moments after he was denied by a try saving tackle from Brierley, and the second Welsh try arrived shortly before half time.
David Scott’s failure to collect a high ball cleanly under pressure cost Scotland, as Elliott Jenkins got the break of the loose ball to nip through a gap in the defence and touch down for the second Welsh try.
Another missed conversion from Olds left the Scots four points ahead at the break, but it had been a strong end to the half for Wales, which they built on with a vengeance in the second half.
Five minutes after the restart Ben Morris put Rhys Williams through for his second try on the night to level the scores, and Olds curled the conversion over to give Wales the lead for the first time, and on the hour mark, Olds converted a Chester Butler try to move the score on to 20-12.
It was one-way traffic from then on, and further tries from Jenkins, two from Josh Ralph, Rhys Williams and Ben Evans were all easily converted by Olds to bring up the half century of points for the visitors.
“The first 15 minutes we defended really well and executed some nice tries,” commented joint Scotland head coach Chris Chester.
James Bell had a dig and Ben Kavanagh played the full 80 minutes, other than that it was pretty shambolic. We certainly weren’t expecting that score line and collectively we weren’t good enough and didn’t do ourselves justice; we looked a little bit like a pub team in the second half.
Scotland travel to France for their final game on Saturday, 10 November while Wales host Ireland at Wrexham’s Racecourse Stadium on Sunday, 11 November.
David Scott, Craig Robertson, Will Oakes, Murray Mitchell, Davey Dixon, Oscar Thomas, Ryan Brierley, Ben Kavanagh, Kane Bentley, Oliver Wilkes, Nick Glohe, Frankie Mariano, James Bell
Substitues: Billy McConnachie, Sam Luckley, Craig Borthwick, Lewis Clarke
Elliot Kear, Mike Butt, James Olds, Ben Morris, Rhys Williams, Elliott Jenkins, Josh Ralph, Ben Evans, Steve Parry, Dan Fleming, Rhodri Lloyd, Chester Butler, Connor Davies
Substitute: Dalton Grant, Curtis Davies, Gavin Bennion, Morgan Evans
Referee: Ben Casty
Photo credit: Brian Sutherland