Scotland captain Stuart Hogg has hailed his players after they banished an “unacceptable” away record against Wales.
Hogg kicked a late penalty as Scotland triumphed 14-10 in Llanelli to end their 2020 Guinness Six Nations campaign with three successive victories.
It was a first win on Welsh soil since 2002 and put Scotland on the front foot heading into an Autumn Nations Cup campaign that features appointments with Italy, France and Fiji, plus a play-off fixture.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) October 31, 2020
“It means everything to us,” Exeter star Hogg said. “We work incredibly hard to be in a position to win Test matches.
“It is 18 years since we last won in Wales, and for us that was an unacceptable record, so we wanted to do everything we possibly could to change that.
“I believed in the boys right from the first minute that we were going to win. We felt we were in a good place going into the game, and we are chuffed to bits.
“The challenge now is to keep it going. It’s about belief. We have got game-drivers, defensively we stuck at it and we are believing in each other.
“We know we are not the finished article, but we are a step closer to where we want to be.
“The character within the squad is massive. The big word for us is ‘belief’. We went out there, we expressed ourselves, we created highlight moments and chased highlight moments, we stuck to our structures.”
Scotland did not leave west Wales injury-free, though, with fly-halves Finn Russell and Adam Hastings both going off a fortnight before the Nations Cup opener against Italy.
Russell, making his first Test start since last year’s World Cup, suffered a groin problem, while replacement Hastings dislocated his shoulder.
Hogg moved from full-back to fill the number 10 role following Hastings’ second-half departure, and it remains to be seen whether or not Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend could view that as an option if Russell and Hastings are Nations Cup absentees.
“We’ve got other boys who will be in the 10 jersey before myself, but at the end of the day, I will do whatever is best for the team,” Hogg added.
“All I want to do is to be here and make a difference for Scotland, and if it comes to that I will just get on with it.
“If not, I will fully back up whoever is going to be in that jersey. Duncan Weir has been playing really well over the last few weeks, so it is probably a perfect shot for him to get his chance.”
What. A. Drive!
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) October 31, 2020
Reflecting on Scotland’s triumph at Parc y Scarlets, Townsend said: “Stuart captained the team throughout the Six Nations and we’ve had chances to win every game. We’ve been in the fight every game.
“It was a big step forward for our pack. We are a relatively young pack with guys like Zander (Fagerson), Scott Cummings and Jamie Ritchie, and they really stepped up. The lineout performance in the second half was outstanding.
“(Scrum-half) Ali Price was very good in that last 10 minutes. He had two excellent kicks and took control of the game, as we were on to our third fly-half at that time.
“We could have been more expansive, but it was rugby that was putting pressure on the opposition.”