Six Nations: Leigh Halfpenny kicks Wales to victory over Scotland
Last Updated: 10/03/13 8:47am
Wales remain in the hunt to retain the RBS Six Nations title after Leigh Halfpenny kicked them to a 28-18 victory over Scotland.
Richard Hibbard grabbed the only try of the afternoon at Murrayfield as the reigning champions recorded a sixth successive win over their opponents.
In doing so they denied Scotland a third straight triumph, a feat they have failed to achieve in the tournament since 1996 when there were only five nations involved.
All the home side's points came via the boot of Greig Laidlaw, the scrum-half kicking six penalties. Halfpenny, though, landed seven attempts as well as a conversion, meaning Wales came out on top in a stop-start contest.
Hibbard grabbed his first international try when he plunged over the line to finish off a move that had started with a break down the right by George North, the winger side-stepping inside Richie Gray. Although Scotland's covering defence stopped him short, they could not prevent the hooker from crossing.
The rest of the game was dominated by the sound of referee Craig Joubert's whistle; the scene was set in the opening minutes when Halfpenny broke the deadlock following an infringement at scrum time.
Although Halfpenny missed his next three penalty attempts, he did add the conversion after Hibbard touched down, making it 10-6 to the visitors.
Scotland moved ahead with a pair of penalties in between the loss of lock Gray through injury and looked set to go in at the break 12-10 ahead, only for Halfpenny to boot three points in the dying seconds of a largely forgettable first half.
The second, however, did not get much better in testing conditions.
Halfpenny and Laidlaw continued to trade blows off the kicking tee, the latter getting his side back within one at 16-15 after Wales had seen skipper Ryan Jones forced off holding his arm.
Yet the Scots were guilty of falling foul of Mr Joubert time and time again, allowing the visitors to push themselves into a 10-point advantage with just under 10 minutes remaining.
The gap simply left Scotland with too much to do in what little time remained, even with the Welsh loosehead prop Paul James sent to the sin-bin for putting his hands in at a ruck.