A major performance for Finn Russell. Author of a sensational first act, the Scottish captain, a first for him in the Tournament, made the Welsh defense dizzy. Author of two assists for Duhan van der Merwe (29th, 42nd), the first after a fake pass and the second after an interval catch, the former Racing 92 player was on cloud nine. Also to his credit, a 50/22 and a flawless performance against the poles (5/5, 12 points).
Despite the defeat (26-27), he was elected man of the match by the organizers. It must be said that Aaron Wainwright's performance lived up to his status. With a total of 65 meters covered with ball in hand, a rare performance for a forward, the Welsh third row did his best to keep alive the flame of an improbable turnaround, while the Leek XV was trailing 27 to 0 in the 47th minute. With five defenders beaten, he was able to find progress in numerous sequences and distinguished himself by scoring in force, at the foot of the posts, the third try for his team (61st).
It's a match that rugby lovers will remember for many years to come. Left for dead and apathetic during the first 45 minutes of play, the Welsh offered their supporters a breathtaking burst of pride. Orphan of Dan Biggar or Leigh Halfpenny, who stopped their international career after the World Cup, of their captain Jac Morgan, who had knee surgery, of their captain George North, also injured, and of Louis Rees-Zammit, who gave in to the siren calls of the NFL, the young XV of Leek was able to find the necessary resources to turn the table.
With Tomos Williams and Ioan Lloyd at the helm, both coming on as replacements for Gareth Davies and Sam Costelow, who was out injured, the Welsh transformed themselves to score four tries in the space of twenty minutes. The first by James Botham (47th), at the conclusion of a penetrating group, before Rio Dyer at the end of the line (53rd), Aaron Wainwright in force between the posts (61st) and Alex Mann, after a carried ball (68th ), do not participate in the festival. From 27 to 0, Warren Gatland's men came back to 27 to 26 twelve minutes from time! Despite the deafening atmosphere at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, captain Dafydd Jenkins' teammates were too imprecise in the "money-time" to succeed in winning. But with a double bonus, offensive and defensive, they have undeniably earned the respect of the entire rugby world.
It is undoubtedly the symbol of the rout suffered by the XV of Leek, scattered like a puzzle in front of its audience during the first period. Called upon to bring his experience to Wales' very young starting XV, Gareth Davies went through the first forty minutes like a ghost. Imprecise in his play at the foot of occupation, the Welsh scrum-half was unable to bring rhythm to the rare sequences of play of his team. Replaced at half-time by Tomos Williams, the parallel with his partner is largely to his disadvantage. A strong player in the Welsh surge, Tomos Williams stood out in particular with a marvelous jump pass to his winger Rio Dyer, author of his team's second try (53rd).
This is undeniably one of the big black spots in the Welsh ranks. Unregulated, Ryan Elias and his jumpers lost five throws in touch to their advantage, only in the first act. A boon for the XV du Chardon which nourished itself from each of its errors to free itself or progress in the opposing camp. As a direct result of his repeated blunders, Ryan Elias was replaced by Elliot Dee at half-time. Better when returning from the locker room, as in all areas of play on the Welsh side.
Sparkling for 45 minutes, the Chardon XV completely lost their footing and could have seen their efforts reduced to nothing at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Deprived of the ball and cornered in their camp, the Scots conceded no less than 12 penalties during the last half hour and missed 17 tackles. Reduced to 14 twice after the yellow cards of George Turner, guilty of having collapsed maul which brought the first Welsh try (47th) and Sione Tuipulotu (60th), pinned for the repetition of faults of his partners, the men of Gregor Townsend came very close to the correctional but finally managed to win by the smallest of gaps (26-27). Breath gaps that the Blues would be well advised to take advantage of next Saturday (3:15 p.m.).