6N: Biggar leads Wales to 20-17 win over Scots in 100th test

February 12, 2022 GMT
Wales' Louis Rees-Zammit is tackled by Scotland's Rory Darge during the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday Feb. 12, 2022. (David Davies/PA via AP)
Wales' Louis Rees-Zammit is tackled by Scotland's Rory Darge during the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday Feb. 12, 2022. (David Davies/PA via AP)
Wales' Louis Rees-Zammit is tackled by Scotland's Rory Darge during the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday Feb. 12, 2022. (David Davies/PA via AP)
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Wales' Louis Rees-Zammit is tackled by Scotland's Rory Darge during the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday Feb. 12, 2022. (David Davies/PA via AP)
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Wales' Louis Rees-Zammit is tackled by Scotland's Rory Darge during the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday Feb. 12, 2022. (David Davies/PA via AP)

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Dan Biggar battled through injury to mark his 100th test appearance with the game-clinching dropped goal in a 20-17 win for Wales over Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

The flyhalf carried a right leg problem for much of a tight, tense battle of attrition at Principality Stadium but stayed on until the final minute, ultimately leading his team to a first victory of its title defense after a pummelling in Ireland last weekend.

The score was tied at 17-17 with 13 minutes left when Biggar’s rival No. 10, Finn Russell, was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on — moments after Biggar struck an upright with a long-range penalty.

After turning down kicks at goal for a couple of attacking lineouts, Wales settled for three points via Biggar’s dropped goal from in front of the posts and held on comfortably with the extra man. Every Welsh tackle was met with a roar of approval from the home crowd as Scotland embarked — in vain — on a 20-phase attack that barely passed halfway after the clock had reached 80 minutes.

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Biggar was joined in reaching 100 test caps by center Jonathan Davies, who came on as a late replacement. Three of Biggar’s century of international appearances came for the British and Irish Lions.

“For me, it’s one of my best victories in a Welsh shirt,” Biggar said.

“It’s been a really difficult week, we’ve had to put up with a lot of flak — and rightly so. To come back here and put on a show like that, to grind a result out like that, is one of the best victories in my 100.”

Scotland was looking to follow up an opening-round 20-17 win over England and open a championship with two straight victories for the first time in the Six Nations era.

The Scots fell 6-0 down after two penalties by Biggar in the opening eight minutes, only to move into an 11-6 lead thanks to Darcy Graham’s well-taken, one-handed try in the right corner and two penalties by Russell.

Russell and Biggar traded more penalties before Tomas Francis burrowed over in the 32nd minute from a maul off a lineout to leave the scores tied at 14-14 at halftime.

The second half was an arm wrestle, with both teams kicking more and showing less attacking endeavor. Russell’s 50th-minute penalty was canceled out by one from Biggar eight minutes later, setting up a tension-filled final quarter that Wales got the better of.

“It’s huge,” Wales hooker Ryan Elias said. “We needed a big reaction from last week, especially for the crowd here.

“We didn’t turn up last week physically or in a lot of aspects of the game. I don’t think we fired any shots last week. We had a long hard look at ourselves in the week. We were physical, we had that never-say-die attitude. Hopefully we can just keep building on that now.”

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Biggar, who was given a massive ovation after coming off in the 79th minute, said he hoped to be fit for the Round 3 game against England in two weeks. He had a huge bandage around his right knee.

Wales is already heavily depleted by injuries, with stars like Alun Wyn Jones, George North and Justin Tipuric already out.

Scotland next plays France at home.

“We’re very disappointed,” Scotland captain Stuart Hogg said. “When we get into good positions we’re really dangerous, but at times we weren’t allowed to do that. It’s really frustrating because we know we’re a lot better than what we showed.”

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