Scotland 22-60 Wales

Wales leapt to the top of the European Cup table after putting on a first-class performance to win comfortably at Old Anniesland in Glasgow, beating Scotland 60-22.

With 25 players on the pitch with Super League experience, it was always going to be an exciting contest, and it was the two side’s most experienced players, Danny Brough and Lee Briers, both making their comebacks after missing last year’s European Cup, who controlled things with their dangerous and exploitive kicking games.

But it was Briers who came out on top out of the two on his 19th Wales appearance, scoring eight goals to go above Jonathan Davies into third place in the all-time Wales scoring charts. Just Jim Sullivan, whose appearance record was broken by Ian Watson on Wednesday, and his coach Iestyn Harris stand above them.

The two sides played out a fairly tight first half, although Wales always looked just a touch better. However in the second period, it was a different story as the visitors dominated to stamp their authority on this important competition which sees the winners qualifying for the 2011 Four Nations to take on England, Australia and New Zealand.

Wales now host Ireland at The Gnoll in Neath next Sunday while Scotland have a tough trip in France on Saturday.

Scotland showed they meant business early as they fought for an opening try. But a crunching tackle on Ben Fisher from Christiaan Roets defused the situation.

It was Wales who took an early lead. After Elliot Kear had a try attempt thwarted for obstruction, Rhys Williams stormed down the wing for their first try on seven minutes. Briers converted.

Scotland levelled straight away when Ben Fisher grounded under the sticks following good work from Brough.

But Wales were back in the lead after Elliot Kear scored a fantastic individual try. He received the ball on his own 40-metre line, twisted and turned through the Scottish backline, opening up his own gap to run 60-metres and score. Briers converted.

Wales kept up the pressure and scored again. Rob Lunt dropped Briers’ high bomb, Ian Webster was quickest to react and from the next play, Kear easily found a gap for his second and Wales’ third.

The fourth try came straight from kick-off. Another masterful Briers bomb was caught well by Mark Lennon who touched down in the corner. Briers missed both conversion attempts.

Then Wales went in for a fifth. Lunt, having a nightmare game, again failed to see a high bomb and Lloyd White took advantage to easily ground. Briers easily kicked the extras to give Wales a 26-6 lead.

But Scotland struck back five minutes before the interval. Following a penalty, Andrew Henderson latched onto a inch perfect Brough grubber kick to score under the sticks. Brough converted.

There was still time for another Scottish try before the hooter. Kear missed a high bomb right underneath the sticks and following the scrum, Henderson dived over for his second, Brough having no problem with the extras.

Wales won a penalty from second half kick-off after Scotland booted the ball into touch. And after winning another on Scotland’s 20-metre line, Rhys Williams picked up a Briers high bomb to score in the corner. Briers converted well.

The visitors struck again on 49 minutes when Gareth Thomas pounced on a loose ball near the try-line to keep us his try per game record for Wales.

Scotland came back with a well-worked try which saw Fisher diving through a gap to score his second.

But Wales sealed things with 12 minutes to go when Briers kicked a low difficult grubber and Kear accepted with thanks for his hat-trick.

Williams emulated Kear three minutes later when he intercepted a pass and ran 95 metres for his third. His Warrington team-mate had no problems for his sixth goal.

Jacob Emmitt, Wales only debutant, crashed over for another try with five minutes to go to bring up the 50 while Jordan James had a similar score on the hooter. Briers converting both.

Line-up: Lunt, Benn, Wardle, Henderson, Steel, Lindsay, Brough, Wilkes, Fisher, Stringer, Szostak, Barlow, Ferguson. Subs: Henderson, Lowe, Coupar, Howieson.
Tries: Ben Fisher (10, 55), A.Henderson (34, 37)
Goals: Brough 3/4

Line-up: Kear, Williams, Roets, Thomas, Lennon, Briers, Jones, James, White, Emmitt, Beasley, James, Webster. Subs: Flower, Dudson, Ross, Budworth.
Tries: Williams (7, 42, 71), Kear (14, 19, 68), Lennon (22), White (25), Thomas (49), Emmitt (75), J.James (79)
Goals: Briers 8/11

Referee: Thierry Alibert (France)
Attendance: 787

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