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Scotland Under-20s show signs of progress after going down 31-19 to strong Welsh side

Having lost heavily against Wales in the RBS 6 Nations Under-20 Championship two months ago, Scotland last night narrowed the gap in the second of their games ahead of the Junior World Championship with an encouraging display that showed a willingness to attack their hosts.

As in the Six Nations game, Wales used the impressive power of their pack to engineer two of their tries and disrupt the Scotland set scrums. Overall, however, it was encouraging for the Scots to play with conviction against last season's runners-up in the World Championship. Nine of that side were named among the Welsh squad last night.

One 40-metre penalty by stand-off Angus O'Brien gave Wales an early advantage but, after Rory Hutchison had missed a kick at goal, Scotland showed their intent to move the ball and were rewarded with an unconverted try by Sam Pecqueur, the Edinburgh Accies wing.

Wales responded with a driven line-out and extended maul that produced a try for the flanker Scott Matthews, with O'Brien converting. The latter then added the extras to a try from winger Dafydd Howells. Another rolling maul ended with replacement Luke Garrett claiming the try and O'Brien converted with aplomb for a 24-5 lead.

Scotland were able to remain competitive and hit back ­positively from a tap penalty. Short thrusts at the Welsh line ultimately created a gap for Pecqueur, who came off the blindside wing to dart over the line for the Scots' second try. Hutchison slotted the conversion to reduce the deficit to 24-12 at the break.

Scotland's pressure early in the second half had Wales defending grimly in their own 22m area and only errors at crucial moments prevented the visitors a score.

Yet Wales were soon able to return to attacking rugby and centre Harri Evans scored under the posts, with the conversion kicked by sub Ethan Davies.

The Scots were handed an advantage when Welsh replacement Jack Dixon was sent to the sin-bin but the home side were still able to attack the Scotland line. They held out long enough for Neil Herron to make an interception and spark a move from which Jamie Farndale touched down. Chalmers added the conversion.

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