Scotland 7 Wales 31
Wales will have a record third Under 21 Grand Slam in their sights when they meet Ireland in their final 2005 Six Nations fixture at The Gnoll, Neath, on Friday night (7.00). James Merriman's side defied atrocious conditions at Countesswell School, Aberdeen, yesterday (Friday) afternoon to run in five tries and put themselves in line for a clean sweep.
Newport scrum half James Ireland marked his first international of the season following a knee injury with the first try and replacement hooker Rhys James wrapped matters up in injury time. Ireland got the ball rolling with his seventh minute try and two minutes later skipper and flanker Merriman went over for the second.
Ospreys wing Aled Brew got the pick of the tries with a set move involving outside half Matthew Jones from line-out possession and, with Jones adding two conversions, Wales were 19 points clear after just 21 minutes.
Sale Sharks' outside half David Blair missed two easy penalty goal chances but when Brew was yellow carded in the 36th minute the Scots made their man advantage count with scrum half Alistair McFarlane crossing and Blair adding the conversion. But any hint of a Scottish comeback was ended when Bridgend flanker Chris Davies got try No 4 with Jones adding the icing on the cake and replacement outside half Aled Thomas kicking the conversion.
"It really was an excellent performance in appalling conditions - we had the bizarre mix of a blizzard, rain and sunshine during the match," said team manager Wayne Hall. "We are keeping our feet firmly on the ground but it would be nice to finish the campaign with a win at The Gnoll on Friday night.
"The pack dominated the vital opening quarter after we opted to play into the wind in the first half and the line-out worked very well indeed.
"James Ireland - who was capped last season - had a very good game and No 8 Jonathan Mills' driving play was another big positive."
Wales have now beaten England (32-21), Italy (40-3), France (20-19) and Scotland to give them that Grand Slam shot against the Irish.
WALES U21: Ricky Williams (Newport); Aled Brew (Ospreys), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Gavin Evans (Scarlets) (Dafydd Hewitt, Cardiff, 43), Chris Czekaj (Cardiff); Matthew Jones (Ospreys), (Aled Thomas Carmarthen Quins, 65), James Ireland (Newport) (Wayne Evans, Carmarthen Quins, 65); Scott Roberts (Bridgend), Duane Goodfield (Pontypridd)(Rhys James, UWIC, 74), Cai Griffiths (Neath)(Phillip Osbourne, Cardiff, 74), Alun Wyn Jones (Swansea), Ian Evans (Pontypridd)(Ben Thomson, Newport, 74), Chris Davies (Bridgend), James Merriman (Hartpury Coll/Gloucester, captain), Jonathan Mills (Scarlets)(Tom Smith, Neath, 65)
Scotland: Try - A McFarlane; Con - D Blair
Wales: Tries - J Ireland, J Merriman, A Brew, C Davies, R Jones; Cons - M Jones (2), A Thomas