Le Pays De France - Biggar stars as Wales revive Six Nations hopes against Scotland

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Biggar stars as Wales revive Six Nations hopes against Scotland
Biggar stars as Wales revive Six Nations hopes against Scotland

Biggar stars as Wales revive Six Nations hopes against Scotland

Wales captain Dan Biggar's drop-goal 10 minutes from time proved decisive as the Six Nations champions kept Scotland waiting for a win in Cardiff with a 20-17 victory at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

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For Scotland an 11th successive defeat in the Welsh capital, a run stretching back in 20 years, saw them fail to back up last week's opening Calcutta Cup win over England at Murrayfield.

Wales, however, were much improved following a thumping 29-7 defeat by Ireland in Dublin.

Fly-half Biggar, in his 100th international appearance for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, kicked 15 points, with the hosts' other score coming via prop Tomas Francis' try.

The match was all square at 17-17 when Biggar's 66th-minute penalty from fully 50 metres hit the crossbar.

From the rebound, the ball was worked to Alex Cuthbert but the wing was forced into touch, short of the line.

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell, however, had conceded a penalty following a deliberate knock-on and was shown a yellow card by Australian referee Nic Berry.

- 'Best victories' -

Biggar kicked for an attacking line-out and although Wales couldn't find a way through for a try, his close range drop-goal nudged them three points ahead.

"For me this is one of my best victories in a Welsh shirt," Biggar told the BBC.

"It's been a really difficult week. We have had to put up with a lot of flak, rightly so, but to come back here with this crowd and put on a show like that, grind this result out -- it's one of my best victories in my 100 (caps)."

Biggar, who also kicked four penalties, added: "We put in a huge shift defensively.

"Our forwards fronted up, the maul was excellent and it laid a really solid foundation."

A fluctuating first half ended all square at 14-14.

Scotland wing Darcy Graham scored an unconverted try, with Biggar and opposing No 10 Russell landing three penalties apiece.

The Dark Blues remain in title contention ahead of facing France in Edinburgh in a fortnight, when Wales play England at Twickenham, but they will rue what might have been.

"We're bitterly disappointed", said Scotland captain Stuart Hogg as he lamented his side's ill discipline.

"One penalty or knock-on is fine, but when we compound error upon error that's frustrating, because we know we're better than that."

A rainswept match -- the stadium's retractable roof was left open as a Covid safety measure -- kicked off in front of a crowd of nearly 74,000.

Full-back Hogg escaped sanction for what appeared to be a deliberate knock-on.

But the ensuing scrum led to a fourth-minute penalty, with Biggar on target from 40 metres, and he doubled Wales' lead soon afterwards.

Scotland, however, hit back in the 12th minute.

After left wing Duhan van der Merwe burst clear, Russell's excellent floated pass found the diminutive Graham, who held off the challenge of Louis Rees-Zammit before going in at the corner.

Russell missed the conversion but sustained pressure led to three penalties, with Biggar pulling one back for Wales, as Scotland led 14-9.

But when Wales next won a penalty, Biggar kicked for an attacking line-out rather than go for goal.

And from the ensuing maul, Francis was driven over for a 32nd-minute try. Biggar missed the difficult conversion and the match was level at 14-14.

Russell's fourth successful penalty early in a scrappy second half gave Scotland a three-point lead before a rare Welsh break-out almost led to a 57th-minute try for Cuthbert, who just failed to collect scrum-half Tomos Williams' kick ahead.

But Scotland had been offside and Biggar's fourth successful penalty tied the scores at 17-17.

Scotland's line held firm, a tribute to their Welsh defence coach Steve Tandy, but they could do nothing about Biggar's drop-goal before Wales forced a breakdown penalty after 80 minutes to seal victory.