By Ben Hart in Treviso
WALES started their Six Nations Under-20 Summer Series in style with an assured 45-15 win over Scotland.
The scoring began in the third minute courtesy of the outstanding Oli Andrew and tries followed at regular intervals thereafter, as Wales secured a third consecutive win over the Scots.
An Andrew double in addition to efforts from Rhys Barratt, Ethan Fackrell, Harri Houston and Morgan’s Lloyd and Morse reflected Wales’ dominance, while Gregor Hiddleston and Patrick Harrison, both impressive in defeat, crossed for Scotland.
Key player: Oli Andrew
JJ Williams, Gerald Davies, Shane Williams. There is a certain heritage and prestige that comes with playing on the Welsh wing.
It would be unfair to compare Oli Andrew to those Wales greats at such a young age, but he produced another immensely impressive performance against Scotland.
Just three minutes into proceedings he gathered a slightly hurried cross-kick and turned menacingly towards the try line.
Cries of “back yourself Oli” echoed around the Stadio Di Monigo, and 19-year-old heeded that advice.
He showed great strength to hold off Ryan Daley and an even better awareness of his position on the touch line, just reaching to dot down before being dragged into touch.
That set the tone for an immaculate display, as his clever kick led to Wales’ fourth try and he registered again for the game-sealing fifth.
Play of the game: Barratt breaks through
Who doesn’t love watching a front-row forward scamper their way to the try line?
After a tetchy and tense opening quarter, the game was in need of a bit of inspiration to bring it to life.
Wales loosehead prop Barratt would not have been at the top of your list of players to provide that spark, but he did just that.
After Fackrell had won a penalty inside the Wales half for a smart piece of work at the breakdown, Dan Edwards booted the ball deep into Scotland territory.
The lineout was executed to perfection and Wales quickly made ground. With Scotland retreating, Barratt spotted a gap at the edge of a ruck, scooped up the ball and sprinted home, out-muscling full-back Kieran Clark in the process.
Key talking point: Discipline key in the heat
Needless penalties are a coach killer at the best of times, but in the Italian sun their impact is even more destructive.
Scotland conceded seven penalties in the first half and the resulting strain on their defence as a result proved too much to bear, as Wales cut through on four occasions before the interval.
In the opening three matches of the tournament the side ahead at half-time has gone on to win and extended their lead in the process.
A positive start is perhaps key then, with the possibility of big a comeback made even more unlikely in the relentless heat.
Key moment: Scotland’s missed chance
Having gone 19-5 down Scotland were in desperate need of a route back into the game.
Hooker Hiddleston secured a crucial turnover just metres from the Welsh line, and taking into account the deficit and difficult kicking position, captain Rhys Tait opted to kick for the corner.
An excellent lineout drive took Scotland just shy of the line and a score seemed inevitable.
But with bodies strewn and no forward runners forthcoming, scrum-half Murray Redpath attempted an ambitious grubber kick for winger Kerr Johnston which was too strong.
Redpath would have perhaps been better going for the line himself, rather than attempting to force a way through at such a vital point in the game.
The Six Nations Under-20 Summer Series takes place from 24 June – 12 July. Fans can watch every match live. For more information visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHm6BFw-9JRA1CMekNLwMg