Sharks McGuigan gets the Scottish start

Byron Mc Guigan touches down for Scotland against Australia last November.

Wales made light of significant injury worries to get their Six Nations campaign off to a flying start as Leigh Halfpenny starred in a 34-7 drubbing of Scotland on Saturday.

Gregor Townsend's men had been considered rivals to favourites England and Ireland but such chat looked fanciful as the game progressed.

It was a mightily impressive performance by Wales and one that should send belief soaring for the encounter with the champions in England.

Up front Ross Moriarty has recovered from a back injury to take his place at No 8, alongside Josh Navidi and Aaron Shingler.

Dragons captain Cory Hill had arguably his best worldwide game and showed some lovely footballing skills to go with a huge appetite for graft before going off for a head injury assessment just before the hour.

McGuigan knows this to be the case but says he is relaxed about the fact that he might not be given quite as much opportunity to launch those powerful runs which lit up Murrayfield last November, and which have helped him claim eight tries in the Aviva Premiership so far this season - second only to Josh Adams, who happens to be his opposite number this weekend.

Gareth Davies gave the hosts the ideal start, the scrum-half intercepting an Ali Price pass to race over from the halfway line.

But it made no difference to the overall picture as Halfpenny went over for his second try, adding the conversion to end things as a contest and confirm Townsend's Six Nations coaching debut as one to forget.

Wales and Scotland had been expected to contest a tight affair under the roof of the Principality Stadium but the visitors found themselves 14-0 down inside 15 minutes.

Wales started the second half brighter and forced a penalty out of the Scotland defence two minutes after the resumption.

Scottish captain John Barclay said an away win in Cardiff would show everyone they are serious about winning the Six Nations tournament for the first time ever.

A well-weighted kick through in the 35th minute earned another chance when Halfpenny was forced to carry the ball over his line, only for a botched move from the solid scrum to offer yet another cheap escape.

The first half had not featured a single penalty at goal yet two minutes after the restart Halfpenny punished a breakdown offence to stretch the lead to a formidable 17 points before repeating the trick for 20-0 after 48 minutes.

Scotland made the early running and a break from Jonny Gray nearly put the visitors through for the opening score in the first few exchanges.

Wales kept threatening: Replacement prop Wyn Jones was held up by Scotland's Huw Jones, and replacement flyhalf Gareth Anscombe dropped a try-scoring pass from Alun Wyn Jones.

After bombing at least three other tries, Wales bagged a bonus-point fourth with a Steff Evans dive and one-hand touchdown in the left corner.



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