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Wales is off to flying start with Scottish rout

WALES ran in four tries and began its defense of the Six Nations title with a one-sided 26-13 victory over Scotland on Sunday.

Tom Shanklin, Alun-Wyn Jones, Leigh Halfpenny and Shane Williams all crossed the Scottish line at Murrayfield for last season's grand slam winners, who led 16-3 at halftime.

If flyhalf Stephen Jones hadn't missed five kicks at goal and the Welsh hadn't eased off in the last 20 minutes, the margin of victory would have been even bigger.

Replacement winger Max Evans scored Scotland's lone try with his team already down 6-26 and Chris Paterson, who kicked all 36 Scottish points in the previous two meetings with the Welsh, landed two penalties and a conversion.

Wales next hosts England, which beat Italy 36-11 on Saturday.

The Scots were outshoved by a Welsh pack who didn't even have captain and back row Ryan Jones, who pulled out just before kickoff with a calf muscle injury.

After Stephen Jones had kicked the Welsh into a 13th minute lead with a penalty, Scotland conceded two tries while a man short. Prop Geoff Cross was sinbinned in the first half of his debut for tackling Lee Byrne while the Welsh fullback was in the air trying to catch a high ball. Cross came off worse and spent several minutes lying on the field receiving treatment.

Cross was the second Scot to be dazed after their own tackles, winger Simon Webster being the first after he crashed into Martyn Williams and also had to go off.

Using the advantage of an extra man, the Welsh moved the ball quickly from a ruck 30 meters out and Byrne fed the ball inside to Shanklin to go over. Jones missed the conversion.

The Welsh continued to take advantage of having more players on the field and, after the pack pushed the Scots back toward their own posts, Mike Phillips offloaded to Alun-Wyn Jones who spun through two tacklers to touch down. Jones again missed.

A first half replacement for the dazed Webster, Paterson kicked Scotland's first points with a penalty in the 32nd minute before the home side, back to full strength, almost scored a try just before halftime.

Back row John Barclay was tackled just short of the line and the Scots were halted by some standout defense by the Welsh who stretched their lead with Stephen Jones' second penalty with the last kick of the first half.

Halfpenny's try in the opening minute of the second half made it 21-3 and was a top quality score. Center Jamie Roberts burst through the middle and the ball was fed on through Shane Williams whose slick pass to the overlapping Halfpenny put the 20-year-old winger over in the corner.


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