Six Nations 2000
Wales compound Scotland's misery
March 18, 2000
Wales winger Shane Williams notched a brace of tries against Scotland
© Getty Images
Listening to the rapturous welcome and the deafening national anthem given the home side you could be forgiven for thinking Wales had spent the last fortnight winning the World Cup rather than suffering humiliation heaped upon humiliation; first in Twickenham and worse when the eligibility scandal broke.
Shane Williams scored a brace of tries but much of the credit must go to Stephen Jones who played with a calm assurance at flyhalf. His four penalties and two conversions kept the scoreboard ticking over when the home side was threatened by a second half Scottish revival. He may well fill the famous Welsh number ten shirt for a good while to come. He won the sponsor's man of the match award and Neil Jenkins will not waltz back into the side.
Gregor Townsend was granted the honour of leading Scotland onto the Cardiff turf to celebrate his 50th cap but within 15 minutes of the kick-off the unfortunate centre had passed two balls to the ground and had a kick half charged down. He improved from this start, and even scored a dubious injury time try, but it was never enough to affect the end result.
The Scots ran their first ball and plenty more thereafter. For the home side Rupert Moon gave Scotland's fullback Paterson an early test but otherwise Stephen Jones was happy to let his fellow backs see plenty of ball.
Wales generally had the better of the opening quarter and had a nine-minute penalty to show for it. However Duncan Hodge began to use the touchline to good effect and pulled back the three points on a rare Scotland foray into the Welsh 22. Still the tempo of the scoreboard never matched the pace of the game and the score remained 3-3 after thirty minutes.
Shane Williams should have done better than run into last man Paterson after Gareth Thomas' clever angle had fooled Craig Moir. Jones then fluffed a tricky chance to reclaim the lead but still most of the match was being played deep in Scottish territory.
At least Scott Murray, with the help of Garin Jenkins' erratic throwing, was helping dominate the lineouts for Scotland. However the Scottish forwards could make no headway against the determined home defence and as a result the quick men were being asked to use static ball.
The first try didn't come until the 36th minute when a cleverly weighted kick through by veteran Allan Bateman had the inexperienced Paterson caught in two minds. The fullback hesitated but not so Welsh flyer Shane Williams who won the race to the ball and then the race to the line. Jones simple conversion, and a subsequent penalty with the last kick of the half after Grimes was fingered for foul play, gave Wales a 13-3 lead at the break.
All Scotland could do in reply was hit the opposite upright when another Hodge penalty went marginally wide.
Perhaps that's why the No.10 ignored an opportunity early in the second half but his ambition, kicking for the corner, was nearly rewarded when Martin Leslie dropped the ball stretching for the left hand flag. Two minutes and the same man finally drove over in almost the same place after Paterson has been stopped just a foot short.
Scotland were back in the hunt but a second stupidity from Grimes at the kick-off, playing the man off the ball, meant that Jones pulled three point back almost immediatley.
Shane Williams then started and finished the decisive move of the match. He took a quick lineout to Matt Cardey who then found Bateman in space on the wide right. The move was halted just short of the Scots' line by the cover but when the ball came back to the left Williams was the beneficiary of a two man overlap. Jones inevitable conversion made the score 26-13 and Scotland were facing a mountain to climb.
A brief siege on the Welsh line was lifted when John Leslie of all people passed to an empty space. When Glen Metcalfe missed Cardey's clearance kick it was clear that Scotland's miserable luck, not to mention form, was here to stay. The winger was sin-binned shortly afterwards for a late tackle to complete a forgettable afternoon.
Scotland piled on the pressure in the final ten minutes but they were chasing lost causes. Indeed Paterson was required to pull off a try-saving tackle on Gareth Thomas at the death.
Despite hitting the woodwork twice only a patriot could claim that Lady Luck had anything but a marginal impact on this match. Wales needed the win and they duly got it but there are few sides who are as a accomodaating as Scotland this year.
WALES: 15 Matt Cardey, 14 Gareth Thomas, 13 Allan Bateman, 12 Mark Taylor, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Rupert Moon, 1 Peter Rogers, 2 Garin Jenkins, 3 David Young, 4 Ian Gough, 5 Andy Moore, 6 Nathan Budgett, 7 Colin Charvis, 8 Geraint Lewis.
Replacements: 16 Robin McBryde, 17 Spencer John, 18 Alix Popham, 19 Martyn Williams, 20 Richard Smith, 21 Jason Strange, 22 Dafydd James.
SCOTLAND: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Craig Moir, 13 Gregor Townsend, 12 John Leslie, 11 Glenn Metcalfe, 10 Duncan Hodge, 9 Andy Nicol, 1 Tom Smith, 2 Steve Brotherstone, 3 Mattie Stewart, 4 Scott Murray, 5 Stuart Grimes, 6 Martin Leslie, 7 Budge Pountney, 8 Stuart Reid.
Replacements: 16 Gordon Bulloch, 17 David Hilton, 18 Doddie Weir, 19 Cameron Mather, 20 Bryan Redpath, 21 James McLaren, 22 Alan Bulloch.
Referee: David McHugh.