Stat Watch – powered by AWS: How Wales battled past Scotland

Wales held on to their 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam dream after a clinical 18-11 victory against a Scotland side that continued their assault on the Welsh line until the bitter end.

Wales held on to their 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam dream after a clinical 18-11 victory against a Scotland side that continued their assault on the Welsh line until the bitter end.

BT Murrayfield bore witness to an intriguing encounter between two sides unwilling to give the other an inch and here’s a look at the numbers that point to where the game was won and lost, all powered by AWS.

Remember you can check out plenty more stats, powered by AWS, in our Match Data Downloads section here

It was a frustrating afternoon for Scotland in many aspects, as they managed 873 metres with ball in hand, dwarfing the Welsh’s 473, yet failing to put the necessary points on the board.

It is perhaps telling that despite carrying more than Wales, it was the Welsh who won the battle of the gain-line – as 68% of their carries were effective, compared to the Scots’ 59%.

Equally, Scotland will rue their inability to convert ball in hand and territory to all-important points. 58% of the territory suggests that while Scotland had the lion’s share of possession, they simply ran out of ideas and had no answer for the disciplined, well-drilled Welsh defence.

There was plenty of endeavour from Scotland who threw everything at Wales but couldn’t break down one of the shrewdest defences in the Guinness Six Nations.

The usual suspects fronted up for Wales in another eye-watering defensive effort, highlighting once again the value of defensive coach Shaun Edwards.

Flankers Josh Navidi and Justin Tipuric proved their worth, chipping in with 25 and 27 tackles respectively. Their tiresome harrying of Scottish ball-carriers was essential to forcing errors and ensuring that the Scots had little joy on the gain-line.

Not to be outshone by his back-row colleagues, the great Alun Wyn Jones not only made 25 tackles but assisted with a further ten. His role in the face of continual pressure was paramount to the Welsh victory.

It was a dogged effort from the Welsh pack who as always, displayed their incredible endurance and fitness in keeping the Scots at bay.

One man who shone in many facets of the game for Scotland was blindside flanker Magnus Bradbury.

His tackle-count of 16, with none missed, shows that he was at the forefront of the physical exchanges. Factor in his five assisted tackles and it’s clear that he was a key component of a Scottish defence that generally didn’t allow Wales too much room.

Perhaps more noticeable are his statistics in attack. He topped the Scottish carrying charts with an impressive 15, which resulted in 93 metres made. A noteworthy number for a loose forward like Bradbury who is renowned for his tackling prowess.

A great performance that will not have gone unnoticed by Gregor Townsend. Could his defence be the key to getting past England in the final round?

Whilst it was certainly a battle of attrition, that’s not to say the speedsters couldn’t get in on the act. Quite apart from scoring a magnificent try, Josh Adams offered himself as a runner all afternoon. Nine carries for a return of 84 successful metres made is representative of his willingness to involve himself in a match that wasn’t built for wingers.

One line-break in a tight game also put Wales on the front foot and allowed them to start building pressure when Scotland had enjoyed most of the territory.

Equally, George North had a less flashy performance than his two-try game clincher against France in Round One with a hardworking, productive showing on the wing. Two tackle breaks and a line break, are standard for a winger of North’s power. However, 11 tackles emphasise his defensive quality in tight games that don’t require his pace, acceleration and try-scoring ability.

Both men will have more exciting test matches, but that’s not to undermine their workload and input under the cosh against a high-class attacking side like Scotland.