Wales won the inaugural Doddie Weir Cup in Cardiff with something to spare, but it was their defence blunting Scotland’s attempts to break them down that was the decisive factor at the Principality Stadium.
The Welsh happily gave up lots of possession to the visitors but were rarely under sustained pressure, surrendering just one try to a driving maul, although they needed the TMO just to be sure on a couple of occasions in the second half.
The Welsh scored two tries themselves through George North and Jon Davies, but it was a strangely flat affair compared to the usual passion of these games in the Six Nations.
The attendance was about 10,000 short of capacity and they struggled to get into a pretty uninspiring game with too many penalties, both sides showing some rust after regathering just in the last two weeks.
For Scotland, there will be disappointment to have had as much ball as they were given but to have scored just once. There was little dubiety about either of the second half TMO decisions, and the Scots were often laboured attacking in the opposition 22.
In contrast they will not enjoy replays of either Welsh try, both of which featured missed open field tackles by the centres.
Scotland relied on their new toy, the attacking maul, to get themselves back in the first half after it appeared Wales were easing away in the opening half-hour.
It was a disjointed game with 13 penalties in the first half alone, the biggest cheer from a somewhat underwhelmed crowd in the first quarter coming when the cameras picked out Doddie Weir in the crowd and put it on the Principality big screens.
Scotland were a bit passive early on feeling their way into the game and both sides tried a variety of kicks in behind the defences with limited success. Gareth Ainscombe’s chip into the right hand corner was the best and found George North, but Lee Jones got back just in time to force the big wing’s right boot into touch before he could ground the ball.
By then Leigh Halfpenny had pushed Wales ahead with a penalty and doubled the lead for an offside offence, adding another three when Jonny Gray had a rare defensive lapse missing Ross Moriarty and then tried too hard to make up for it handling on the floor.
Scotland got back in via the setpiece, Wales penalised for taking down a scrum on their own 22 and Hastings kicking the goal, but they were too early in the push on a scrum in their own 22 crucially gifting Wales prime attacking position.
North came off his wing on a short ball, went through first Huw Jones and then Alex Dunbar at pace before scoring yet another try at Cardiff against Scotland.
But Halfpenny missed the conversion and the Scots had a route back into the contest when they twice kicked penalties to the corner. With Wales on a warning for taking down the maul, skipper McInally spun off the back as the Scots made ground and got the try.
Hastings converted to pull the Scots within four points – not a bad return for a half where Wales were the better side.
Had Scotland got first score of the second half it might have made things interesting, but a five minute spell of pressure brought nothing and Wales scored on their first – and eventually only – real attack of the half.
And it was too easy, off the top ball from a lineout carried to the line by Ainscombe and Jon Davies handing off a feeble Huw Jones tackle to stroll in for the score, Halfpenny converting.
Scotland tried to fight back with mauls, but were first held up and then Jonny Gray was adjudged by the TMO to have made a double movement as he fought over from close range.
With George Horne on for Ali Price, the Scots almost conjured a score for the young scrum-half with Blair Kinghorn, Tommy Seymour and Dunbar combining at pace but Wales scramble defence held.
The Scots had a foothold inside the Welsh 22 now and were helped by a yellow card for replacement hooker Elliot Dee, but they were denied by the TMO again as George Horne’s chip found his brother Pete just unable to ground the ball cleanly.
Scotland’s attempts to make the extra man count in the remainder of the sin-binning were uninventive and blunted by Wales’ aggressive defence, which held them out for the remainder.
Wales: L Halfpenny; G North, J Davies, H Parkes, L Morgan; G Anscombe, G Davies; N Smith, K Owens, D Lewis; C Hill, A W Jones (capt); D Lydiate, J Tipuric, R Moriarty.
Replacements: E Dee for Evans 63, R Evans for Smith 63, L Brown, A Beard for Hill 65, A Wainwright, T Williams for G Davies 70, J Evans for Ainscombe 78, S Evans for Morgan 78.
Scotland: B Kinghorn; T Seymour, H Jones, A Dunbar, L Jones; A Hastings, A Price; A Dell, S McInally (capt), WP Nel; B Toolis, J Gray; J Ritchie, H Watson, R Wilson.
Replacements: F Brown for McInally 55, A Allan for Dell 55, S Berghan for Nel 55, G Gilchrist for Gray 70, M Fagerson for Ritchie 63, G Horne for Price 63, P Horne for H Jones 63, D Graham for Seymour 74.
Ref: M Raynal (FFR)