A second-half revival saw Wales avoid a potential upset against Scotland on Saturday as Warren Gatland's side sealed their first win of the 2016 RBS Six Nations with a 27-23 victory at the Principality Stadium.
Scotland led 16-13 entering the final 15 minutes of Saturday's matchup, but late tries from Jamie Roberts and George North saw the Dragons roar back to build on last week's 16-16 draw against Ireland.
Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies took just six minutes to open the scoring in Cardiff, while Tommy Seymour and Duncan Taylor—in for the injured Matt Scott—grabbed a great pair of consolation tries for the visitors.
Bet365 depicted Wales' sterling run of form against the Scots in recent years:
Wales’ updated form against Scotland. '08 ✅ ‘09 ✅ ‘10 ✅ ‘11 ✅ ‘12 ✅ ‘13 ✅ ‘14 ✅ ‘15 ✅ ‘16 ✅ #SixNations https://t.co/J9UQgvYk1O2/13/2016, 6:35:28 PM
Davies has been a key attacking figure for coach Warren Gatland since establishing himself as Wales' starting No. 9 in the build-up to last year's World Cup, and it took the Scarlets playmaker little time to mount an advantage on Saturday.
An early break in Scottish territory saw the half-back burst through to make headway for the left corner, dotting down after a lung-bursting run to improve his sensational Test try record, per OptaJonny:
6 - @WelshRugbyUnion's Gareth Davies has scored more tries in Test rugby (6) than any other scrum half since the start of 2015. Fire.2/13/2016, 4:59:52 PM
It was feared fly-half Dan Biggar wouldn't feature in Week 2 after hurting himself in the draw against Ireland last Sunday, but the Ospreys man returned to test the Scottish backs with his high, searching kicks.
Seymour was equal to the challenge, though, and it took the Glasgow Warriors winger just six minutes to return the favour following a superb chip from team-mate Finn Russell. The official RBS Six Nations YouTube account provided footage of the score:
The pair of converted tries tied the scores at 7-7 before Biggar and Laidlaw exchanged a pair of penalties, and the Scots proved to be a far more testing attacking outfit than their 15-9 loss to England in Week 1 might have suggested.
In fact, it was the travelling team who went in at the break ahead, with Laidlaw sealing a second penalty on the stroke of half-time to gift Cotter's men a three-point cushion at the interval.
Scotland were saddened to see full-back Stuart Hogg leave the pitch with a shoulder injury in the first half, and that loss proved costly as they failed to produce the same attacking threat after the restart. BBC Scrum V illustrated what a major loss the Glasgow man was for Cotter and Co.:
BBC ScrumV @BBCScrumV
Stuart Hogg goes off injured for Scotland. Big, big loss for the Scots. He made more metres than anyone in Round One.2/13/2016, 5:22:47 PM
Biggar and Laidlaw exchanged another pair of kicks after play resumed, and a break from Wales winger Tom James looked as though it might get Wales back in the lead. His attack down the left flank was stopped, but Roberts, who was dazzling against Ireland, eventually bust down the doors to put Wales ahead 20-16.
Roberts was unfortunate not to be named man of the match at the Aviva Stadium in Week 1, but Saturday's try showed all the centre's leadership skills and clutch quality in one fell move:
Consistency has been a frequent concern for Scotland when coming up against the top teams, and it proved to once again be the case as North put Wales' win to bed with a barnstorming break through Scottish lines.
Saracens star Taylor made a late break thanks to some brilliant build-up play from substitute Ruaridh Jackson, but it proved too little, too late for the Scots.
Gatland may have been stunned to see his men allow their guests back into the match in the first half, but their restriction of errors in the second period will ultimately be seen as a hugely encouraging show of determination.
As a result, Wales clinched their ninth consecutive win over Scotland and are up to second in the 2016 Six Nations standings, having battled through adversity to seal their first win of the tournament.
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