Wales u/19 squad was trailing 17-28 at halftime but secured a victory with a spirited fightback in the second half.
Wales was first to score when hooker Garin Lloyd scored off the back of a driven line-out, with flyhalf Josh Thomas adding the conversion. Scotland responded immediately with an almost identical score from the Ewan Ashman, with flyhalf Nathan Chamberlain converting.
Scotland scored tries by Jack Blain (2) and another by Ewan Ashman in an impressive showing in the first half. Wales trailed 10-28 after a penalty was converted by Josh Thomas, before they finished the first half on the front foot, with the powerful Taylor Hansen getting in for his team’s second try of the afternoon.
Wales came out for the second half as men possessed and Scotland struggled to cope with their intensity. Tries from flanker Iestyn Rees, second-row Ed Scragg, winger Dewi Cross and centre Joe Roberts secured a fairly comfortable victory in the end for Wales.
The Scotland Under-19s side contained several players who have had valuable game time in the Tennent’s Premiership this season, but most eyes were on the South African born Kwagga van Niekerk who started in the number six jersey.
Kwagga, who represented the Golden Lions in all the juniors teams and was one of the stars of the SA Schools side in 2017, did not disappoint. With his physicality and work rate he showed more than enough reason for his inclusion in the 2019 Scottish u/20 World Cup squad. Kwagga returns to South Africa after a week with the Scotland u/19 squad to join pre season training with the Golden Lions.
Scotland coach Ben Cairns said “It was a really good learning for the boys to see how quickly international rugby can change,” “We were on top in the first half, I thought we had good momentum in our carries, good field position, mauled really well and our third try was excellent when we put together a really good passage of play. So, there was some really positive stuff there.”
“But in the second half, we lost that momentum. They came out really fired up and we didn’t deal with that very well in terms of being passive in the tackle which gave them too much momentum, and when we had the ball we played in the wrong areas and ended up trying to play a bit too much rugby around our 10-metre line, which cost us a bit.
“It is great exposure,” added Cairns. “There are a lot of guys here who are getting a chance to see where they need to get to and they can now crack on – whether that is for the [Scotland] Under-20s this year or next year. They’ve been given an opportunity here to show what they can do, but also to understand the levels they need to achieve.”
The Scotland u/19 squad will play against the touring Australian Schools & Under-18s side (which defeated Ireland Under-19s in Dublin on Saturday) at Oriam this coming Sunday. There will then be a couple of joint sessions with the Scotland Under-20s during the Six Nations window before an Under-20s ‘development’ team take on France in Nice in April.
Scotland: Charlie Hudson, Jack Blain, Ollie Smith, Robbie McCallum, Callum Hoffie, Nathan Chamberlain, Roan Frostwick, Lachlan MacKay, Ewan Ashman, Mak Wilson, Jack Hill, Cameron Henderson, Kwagga van Niekerk, Connor Boyle, Rory Darge.
Subs used: Rory Jackson, Sean Fisher, Alex Pleasants, James Barker, Gavin Wilson, Kristian Kay, Paul Cunningham, Matt Stewart.
Wales: Ioan Davies; Alex Morgan, Joe Roberts, Aneurin Owen, Dewi Cross; Josh Thomas, Dafydd Buckland; Taylor Hansen, Garin Lloyd, Luke Yendle, Ed Scragg, Jac Price, Iestyn Rees, Olly White, Jac Morgan.
Subs used: Cameron Lewis, Garyn Phillips, B Warren, M Ayling, Ioan R Davies, Dafydd Land, Evan Lloyd, Ben Cambriani.
Scotland: Tries: Ashman (2), Blain (2); Conversions: Chamberlain (4).
Wales: Tries: Lloyd, Hansen, Rees, Scragg, Cross, Roberts; Conversions: Thomas (2), Lloyd; Penalty: Thomas.