Wales vs. Scotland: Winners and Losers from 2016 RBS 6 Nations Clash

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2016

Wales vs. Scotland: Winners and Losers from 2016 RBS 6 Nations Clash

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Wales screamed back from a half-time deficit to defeat Scotland 27-23 at the Principality Stadium on Saturday as coach Vern Cotter's side missed out on what would have been their first win in Cardiff since 2002.

    Tries from Gareth Davies, Jamie Roberts and George North saw the hosts seal their first win of the 2016 RBS Six Nations, but Scotland walked away from the tie with their pride intact following a terrific tug of war.

    Tommy Seymour and Duncan Taylor dotted down for the visitors' tries, and although Cotter's men are yet to taste victory in this year's tournament, the team can take many positives from their most recent loss.

    Read on for a breakdown of the biggest winners and losers to emerge from Saturday's battle between Wales and Scotland. 

Winner: Jamie Roberts

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    Having missed out on the man-of-the-match award in Dublin last Sunday despite recording a massive 20 tackles and holding Ireland at bay, Jamie Roberts contributed another star display in Cardiff in Week 2.

    The Harlequins centre responded to last week's near miss with another leader's performance against the Scots, and it was his 64th-minute try that eventually opened the door for Wales to complete their comeback.

    How fitting it was that Roberts' try was anything but pretty, too, thundering his way over the Scottish line on a well-angled crash ball, picking up his share of bruises along the way, but reaping the rewards as a result.

    Roberts once again made the most tackles of any back on Saturday (11), and a smashing hit on Scotland flanker Blair Cowan near the end of proceeding gave Cardiff reason to rise.

Loser: Vern Cotter

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Spare a thought for coach Cotter this weekend, the tactician who has transformed this Scottish team into an outfit capable of threatening the cream of the crop, albeit with a lack of end product.

    After a sour piece of luck saw Scotland exit last year's Rugby World Cup quarter-finals at the hands of Australia, full-back Stuart Hogg's injury didn't help the team in their quest against Wales this weekend.

    Captain Greig Laidlaw cast a dejected figure following the close defeat to England last weekend, but it was a similar tale in Cardiff, and it must be getting old for Cotter and his players alike.

    Given more time and using the 2019 Rugby World Cup as a goal, the former Clermont Auvergne tactician could change the future prospects of Scottish rugby.

Winner: Tommy Seymour

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    Although the loss may have been tough to swallow given Scotland's heavy competition until the final 30 minutes on Saturday, Glasgow winger Seymour was one of those who could walk away with his head held high.

    Wales fly-half Dan Biggar failed to find a hole in Seymour's game no matter how often he tested him under the high ball, and his try following a precise Finn Russell chip was fair reward for his performance.

    Apart from being caught out of position for Tom James' long-distance break late in the second half, Seymour impressed across the board for Scotland in one of his finest international outings to date.

Loser: Scottish Defence

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    Scoring 23 points in Cardiff is no small feat, and Scotland can be proud of their response to mustering just nine points at home to England last Saturday, but defence remains a key point of concern.

    While Wales missed only eight of their 102 attempted tackles on Saturday—a ratio of 92 per cent—Scotland were unsuccessful with 15 of their 72 attempted tackles, equal to just a 79 per cent success ratio.

    Considering up to three of those came in the buildup to North's late try alone, it seems apparent stamina is likely a leading contributor to that record, especially when the team was competing so fiercely in the first half.

Winner: Wales Set Piece

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    Wales props Samson Lee and Rob Evans, tighthead and loosehead, respectively, could be tremendously proud of the set piece they put up against a very accomplished Scottish pack on Saturday.

    Considering the pair have a combined age of just 46—they're both 23—failing to surrender a single scrum or lineout while stealing a handful of the opponents' is a big achievement at Test level.

    To be able to call a figure as experienced as Wales Test cap record-holder Gethin Jenkins off the bench is also a big boon for Gatland, as is Dan Lydiate, the flanker offering a different dimension to opensides Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric.

    Wales' backs added the sizzle on Saturday, but behind all that was the substance offered by a steadfast performance from the forwards.

    All statistics come courtesy of ESPN Scrum.


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