EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Scotland convincingly ended a run of nine losses to Wales with a 29-13 win in Six Nations rugby at Murrayfield on Saturday.
After beating Ireland in their opener, the Scots have knocked over another team ranked above them with a show of second-half steel that they didn't produce until very recently. Down 13-9 at halftime, the Scots scored 20 points and two brilliant backs tries in the second half, and blanked the Welsh.
They also eliminated Wales from title contention while remaining in the hunt themselves. They haven't been in the chase this late in the championship since 1999 - the last Five Nations - and go to Twickenham in two weeks to face defending champion England with confidence, even though they haven't beaten the English at Twickenham since 1983.
Scotland's past and present meant few gave it a chance on Saturday, especially after what was thought to be the crippling loss of the injured Greig Laidlaw, its inspirational leader, scrumhalf, and main goalkicker.
But Finn Russell kicked over all seven of his shots at goal, scrumhalf Ali Price in his first test start was well shaded by Wales counterpart Rhys Webb but without costing his side, and stand-in skipper John Barclay led an immense forwards effort with 10 tackles, 11 carries and four lineout catches.
Without Laidlaw bothering him, Webb was almost running the match.
His quick tap set up Wales' overlap try for Liam Williams in the first half, and two minutes later his break almost put Williams in again, but Webb was penalized for jersey-pulling.
Wales was bullying Scotland in contact in the first half hour, but penalties and errors were stalling both sides.
Just before the break, fullback Leigh Halfpenny missed a penalty and a chance to put Wales up 16-6. Instead, Scotland produced a quick throw-in, and backs Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Huw Jones counterattacked into the Welsh 22, where they earned a penalty and went into the break only four points down.
Scotland began the second half as it finished the first, only this time it executed. Hogg and winger Tim Visser, playing instead of the injured Sean Maitland, combined with a brilliant dummy run by Jones to give Seymour the room to score out right.
Webb almost dragged Wales back into the match. He couldn't hold a pop-up pass off the floor from center Jonathan Davies with the tryline close, and he had a try ruled out because Visser tackled him into touch a blink before he touched down.
Wales missed its chances but not Scotland.
Russell's flat miss-out pass found Hogg, who immediately laid off the ball to Visser to score on another overlap on the left, and secure victory with 13 minutes left at 26-13.
Russell's fifth penalty prompted the Murrayfield crowd to sing "Flower of Scotland" for the last five minutes.