Defensive Heroics Not Enough For 'A' Team

By GW - July 16 2006
Defensive Heroics Not Enough For 'A' Team
Rob Smart: two tries Scotland's Skanska Four Nations Championship hopes ended with a 22-16 defeat by Wales at Lochinch in Glasgow today. Full report below.
Skanska Four Nations Championship

Scotland 16 Wales 22 at Lochinch, Glasgow

Despite a monumental defensive effort, heroic Scotlandís hopes of beating reigning champions Wales for the first time in six years were dashed in a thriller at Lochinch.

Scotland were forced to defend for prolonged periods in the second half and Wales were rewarded for their dominance with what proved to be the winning try through Jon Breakingbury. There was still 28 minutes left plus five minutes stoppage time for the many delays of an injury-strewn half but Wales held on to claim their sixth straight win over the Bravehearts.

Scotland had started brightly, emergency winger Rob Smart dancing in on the right after five minutes to complete a fine team try. But Wales replied strongly with three tries in nine minutes to go 16-4 ahead. A wonderful show and go by man of the match Gareth Jones put Tyrone Mahoney through and he sent Andrew Jenkins in under the posts. Then giant prop Wes Palmer drove forward and offloaded for Lewis Culverwell to score.

With the inspirational Barry Earl cruelly struck down by an ankle injury after a superb opening stint, Scotland conceded again. Palmer made a brilliant 50 metre charge, throwing off three tacklers and sent full-back David James in. Jones converted the first and last try.

But Scotland bounced back, Smart showing fine footwork to zig-zag his way over from Bennís cut-out pass, the former Castleford Tiger converting to make it 10-16 at the break. Wales took control from the re-start, forcing Scotland to defend set after set in their own 20. Lee Meredith thought heíd scored only for the impressive referee Ian Jefferson to claim Al Stewart had a hand under the ball. Eleven minutes in to the second half an all-in brawl saw both captains Ash Carroll and Jason Hill strangely sin-binned for fighting when others seemed far more at fault. It was while they were off that Benn stepped his way through the Welsh defence to score under the posts. His conversion made it 16-all.

But it only took Wales seven minutes to regain the lead, one they hung on to despite gallant effort by Scotland, for whom Man of the Match Benn, Andy Todd, Paddy MacDonald, Scott MacGillivray and Kevin Lang all shone in an excellent team performance.

Scotland A: Andy Brown (Fife Lions), Rob Smart (Army), Mike Benson (Edinburgh Eagles), Dave Birchall (Underbank Rangers), Andy Todd (Edinburgh Eagles), Jamie Benn (Featherstone Lions), Al Stewart (Liverpool Buccaneers), Ash Carroll (Edinburgh Eagles), Niall MacDonald (Edinburgh Eagles), James Mackay (Carlisle Centurions), John Macdonald (Edinburgh Eagles), Nick Surtees (St Albans Centurions), Barry Earl (Edinburgh Eagles). Subs (all used): Kevin Lang (Glasgow Bulls), Scott MacGillivray (Fife Lions), Tom Wild (Edinburgh Eagles), Fraser Stirling (Kingston Warriors), Gavin Mahindru (Glasgow Bulls).

Wales: David James (Blackwood), Lewis Culverwell (Newport), Chris Roets (Swansea), Jon Breakingbury (Valley), Damien Smith (Torfaen), Gareth Jones (Cardiff), Andrew Jenkins (Swansea), Mark Wheeler (Newport), Tyrone Mahoney (Newport), Mark Devine (Cardiff), Sean Gilbertson (Cardiff), John Bowd (Newport), Jason Hill (Torfauen). Subs all used: Mark Burke (Aberavon), Ian Higgins (Cardiff), Steve Mayley (Torfaen), Lee Meredith (Newport), Wes Palmer (Cardiff).

Referee: Ian Jefferson (England)

Scotland 16
Tries: Smart 2, Benn. Goals: Benn 2.

Wales 22
Tries: Jenkins, Culverwell, James, Breakingbury.
Goals: Jones 3.