Wales became the first winners of the Doddie Weir Cup as they beat Scotland 21-10 in Cardiff on Saturday.
Tries from George North and Jonathan Davies plus 11 points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny were enough to secure Warren Gatland’s men their second victory over Scotland this year.
Gregor Townsend’s visitors could only manage a try courtesy of captain Stuart McInally and five points from the boot of Gavin Hastings in what was the opening November international for both Celtic nations.
Defeat left Scotland still searching for a first win over Wales in Cardiff since 2002. The fixture was being played in honour of former Scotland lock Weir, who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.
But after a public outcry when it emerged that none of the proceeds from the match would be going to his MND charity, the Welsh Rugby Union and their Scottish counterparts relented to pledge a joint six-figure sum.
Fullback Halfpenny opened the scoring with a successful kick after Ken Owens won the penalty.
Wales were given an early scare when inside centre Hadleigh Parkes fell off a tackle on his opposite number Alex Dunbar.
The Glasgow man surged forward into the Welsh 22 before the move came to an abrupt end when Hastings’ grubber kick was safely covered by Halfpenny. Gatland’s side thought they had claimed the game’s first try when North crossed in the corner after he gathered a well-executed cross kick from Gareth Anscombe.
But upon referral to the television match official, the ‘try’ was correctly disallowed due to the Ospreys wing’s foot brushing the touchline. Halfpenny extended his side’s lead with two further penalties as Wales enjoyed the vast majority of territory and possession.
But Hastings responded by landing three points for the visitors after Nicky Smith was penalised at a scrum. The hosts claimed their first try when North charged on to an Anscombe pass before brushing aside both Huw Jones and Dunbar to score.
But despite struggling to get into the game, Scotland struck at the stroke of half-time. After being awarded a penalty, Blair Kinghorn booted the ball into the Wales 22 giving his side some much needed territory.
The visitors set up a powerful driving maul with McInally eventually being forced over the line for a crucial try. Hastings added the extras meaning Scotland turned around 14-10 behind at the interval.
Scotland enjoyed more possession in the early stages of the second half with some excellent tactical kicking from Ali Price and Hastings keeping their hosts under pressure.
But their attack lacked penetration and they eventually lost their field position when their scrum was shunted backwards by the Welsh eight. Anscombe booted Wales deep into Scotland’s half allowing his side an opportunity to apply some pressure.
The ball was spun wide off the top of the line-out with Anscombe releasing Davies who ran straight through a weak tackle from Jones for his 14th international try.
Halfpenny converted for a commanding 11-point Welsh lead. Scotland refused to throw in the towel and managed to put Wales under some serious pressure on their own try line.
Wales’ defence remained firm and McInally was held up over the line but Scotland continued to press with Jonny Gray powering his way over the line. But after much deliberation the try was disallowed for a double movement.
Wales were reduced to 14 men when replacement hooker Elliot Dee was sent to the sin-bin for not rolling away after an accumulation of penalties.
Scotland had a second ‘try’ ruled out by the TMO when Peter Horne failed to gather a chip and Wales held out to get their November campaign off to a winning start.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)