George North and Jonathan Davies crossed for a try in each half as Wales got the better of Six Nations rivals Scotland 21-10 at Principality Stadium for the Doddie Weir Cup.
Much as they did when the teams met in the Six Nations in February, Warren Gatland’s side opened up an early lead, and despite a Scottish fightback, their defence held up well to earn the victory.
With players based outside Wales unavailable, a number of players staked a claim for a long-term starting role, none moreso than Gareth Anscombe at fly-half.
The Cardiff Blues man’s distribution caused Scotland lots of problems in a first half where Wales were able to control the game.
And in the second period, despite huge Scottish pressure, Wales were up to the task in defence to earn the victory.
In February, Wales weathered some early Scottish pressure before pulling away for a comfortable 34-7 win.
It felt like déjà-vu when Leigh Halfpenny slotted a trio of penalties as Wales got the upper hand at the breakdown.
Even when Adam Hastings pulled three points back with a penalty from a scrum infringement, the respite was only temporary.
North, who had earlier been narrowly denied in the right corner earlier in the game, showed all his strength to score the game’s first try.
Shaking off the tackle of first Huw Jones, and then centre partner Alex Dunbar, North served a reminder of just what a threat he is with ball in hand as he raced through for the score.
Halfpenny missed the conversion but at 14-3, it would have been easy for Scotland to crumble.
Instead they took advantage of some Welsh indiscipline to set themselves up in the Welsh 22. And from an attacking lineout, the Scottish maul functioned perfectly with Stuart McInally powering over.
Hastings’ conversion made it 14-10 and that was how it stayed until the break, a score the Scots would have been happy with given the way the game had gone in the opening 40.
The Welsh might not have taken their chances in the first half but they made no mistake early in the second as Davies crossed for a brilliant try from first phase.
Going off the top of a lineout, the ball was spread to Anscombe, whose wide line left Huw Jones having to cover both the fly-half and Davies. With the Scotland centre flat-footed, Anscombe put Davies into space and the centre handed off his opposite number and raced through for the try. Halfpenny’s conversion made it 21-10.
From that point on, the game was played almost exclusively in Welsh territory, with Scotland sending wave after wave of attack to no avail.
Jonny Gray came very close after one rolling maul, while George Horne’s chip for brother Peter slipped through the replacement’s fingers when he was over the line.
That came after Elliot Dee had been sent to the sin-bin for a pair of offsides close to his line in quick succession.
However even with 14 men, the Welsh were able to repel their visitors in a remarkable defensive display.
Shaun Edwards will remain with Wales for one more season, and on this showing, the defence coach will take some replacing.
Regardless of personnel, Edwards appears to be able to produce dominant tackling performances, with the Welsh racking up 162 in this game.
Ahead of clashes with Fiji, South Africa and Argentina, Scotland will be aware that their carrying has to improve, with the forwards struggling to make a dent at close quarters against the Welsh.
For Wales, their bête noire Australia will come to Cardiff next week. Beyond the interesting selection calls as the likes of Dan Biggar become available, the form shown in this game and over the summer surely give Wales the best chance to end their Wallaby hoodoo.