An astonishing 50-point turnaround ensured that European Champions, Wales remain on course both to defend their trophy and to qualify for the 2021 World Cup.
With the Bravehearts getting off to a near faultless start, John Kear’s men – trailing 12-0 after only eight minutes – then clawed their way back into the contest and were behind by only four points at the break.
They totally dominated the second half, running in seven unanswered tries including a hat trick to winger, Rhys Williams, who extended his record as the nations’ leading try poacher.
“I’m delighted,” said Kear, his side having wiped out their deficit of defeat in France the week before. “In all honesty we got what we deserved. They have applied themselves on the training field; we wanted that quality in the performance, and we got it. I am really pleased for the players.
“It’s a good feeling,” he added. “We’ll enjoy this first, but we can also take it into the Ireland match, which looks like being a vital qualifying game.”
Superbly led by prop Dan Fleming, who played the full 80 minutes, skipper Elliot Kear was the catalyst for the Welsh revival, in concert with his club mate, Rhys Williams. Josh Ralph exerted increasing influence as the match went on, as the Dragons overcame indiscipline in the opening 40 which saw them 6-1 behind on the penalty count.
For their part, Scotlad delighted the passionate Gala crowd in the opening exchanges, with Edinburgh Eagle, Craig Robertson on debut and Oliver Wilkes playing his 499th career game after a five year absence from the Scottish squad. The Bravehearts must now succeed in the final European qualifying tournament next year if they are to make it to the 2021 World Cup.
“For the first 15 minutes we defended really well and executed some nice tries,” commented joint Scotland head coach, Chris Chester. “James Bell had a dig and Ben Kavanagh played the full 80 minutes, but otherwise it was pretty shambolic. We certainly weren’t expecting that score line but collectively we weren’t good enough.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice; we looked a little bit like a pub team in the second half.”
SCOTLAND 12 : David Scott, Craig Robertson, Will Oakes, Murray Mitchell, Davey Dixon, Oscar Thomas, Ryan Brierley, Ben Kavanagh, Kane Bentley, Oliver Wilkes, Nick Glohe, Frankie Mariano, James Bell. Substitues: Billy McConnachie, Sam Luckley, Craig Borthwick, Lewis Clarke. Tries: Dixon (3), Bell (8). Goals: Brierley 2/2.
WALES 50 – Elliot Kear, Mike Butt, James Olds, Ben Morris, Rhys Williams, Elliott Jenkins, Josh Ralph, Ben Evans, Steve Parry, Dan Fleming, Rhodri Lloyd, Chester Butler, Connor Davies. Substitutes: Dalton Grant, Curtis Davies, Gavin Bennion, Morgan Evans. Tries: Williams (20, 42, 74), Jenkins (33, 60), Butler (57), Ralph (67, 71), Evans (78). Goals: Olds 7/9.
Referee: Ben Casty : Half time: 12-8 : Man of the match, Dan Fleming.