Six Nations champion Wales ground out a 28-18 win over Scotland at Murrayfield Saturday in the penultimate round to keep its title hopes alive.
The victory was a record fifth away win in the tournament for the 2012 grand slam champion, which lost its opening match to Ireland. Wales now faces a potential title-decider at the Millennium stadium next Saturday against unbeaten England, which hosts Italy at Twickenham Sunday.
Wales hooker Richard Hibbard scored the only try of a scrappy match, dominated by the Welsh forwards. Fullback Leigh Halfpenny kicked a conversion and seven penalties. Scotland scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw, the hero of the home victory over Ireland in the previous round, converted six penalties.
Later Saturday, France came from behind to draw 13-13 with Ireland after Louis Picamoles’ late try ended Philippe Saint-Andre’s misfiring side’s run of three straight tournament defeats.
Ireland flyhalf Paddy Jackson, showing none of the nerves that spoiled his debut against Scotland last time out, kicked his side into a 10-point halftime lead that Morgan Parra, taking over the kicking duties from Frederic Michalak, began to trim back in the second period.
Picamoles drove over six minutes from time and Michalak, back in charge of the kicking tee, leveled the scores for the French, who must still get a result against Scotland next week to avoid their first last-place championship finish since 1999.