Wales claim a stunning triumph
February 13, 2010
Wales' Lee Byrne dives over to score a try at the Millennium Stadium
© Getty Images
Wales produced one of the greatest escapes ever to claim a
A last-gasp try from winger Shane Williams in stoppage time set the seal on a remarkable comeback that culminated with an amazing 17 points in the last three minutes. Tries from John Barclay and Max Evans had put the Scots on course for victory and the boot of fly-half Dan Parks gave the visitors a 10 point lead midway through the second half. But winger Leigh Halfpenny pounced to give Wales hope before Stephen Jones brought the sides level with a late penalty. But there was still time for one more dramatic twist with Williams diving over under the posts to break Scottish hearts.
Both sides were looking to bounce back from opening round defeats with Wales coach Warren Gatland opting to make two changes from the side beaten 30-17 by England. Leigh Halfpenny came in on the right wing and Jonathan Thomas joined the second row alongside Alun-Wyn Jones, villain of the piece at Twickenham for his trip - literally - to the sin-bin.
Scotland, who had not managed a try in their last three games and have won only three of their last 25 away matches in the Championship, awarded fullback Chris Paterson his 100th cap while Rory Lamont, Dan Parks, Euan Murray and Jim Hamilton had been brought in following the 18-9 loss at home to France.
Wales began brightly and stretched the Scots before working an opening for Shane Williams but the winger knocked on to bring an abrupt end to the move in what would be the first of many missed opportunities for the hosts.
The Scots weathered that early storm and stunned the home crowd with the opening try of the game. Barclay showed great strength to shrug off the combined tackle of Gareth Cooper and James Hook before powering over for a score. Paterson slotted the extras to cement his side's lead and extend his impressive Championship record to 35 consecutive kicks at goal. But it was to be the solitary highlight for him on his special day with injury bringing a premature end to his match later in the half.
Wales rallied with Jamie Roberts ghosting through the otherwise resolute Scottish defence before feeding James Hook but he could not find his captain Ryan Jones. The ball was recycled and worked wide to Lee Byrne but the ball was knocked out of his grasp under pressure. Stephen Jones finally got his side on the board with a penalty on the quarter hour after the Scots had been penalised at the scrum. But back came the Scots with another notable drive deep into Welsh territory that ended with a well-struck drop goal from Parks.
And it could have been worse for Wales when Rory Lamont was gifted time and space in midfield but he lacked support when it mattered most. It was then John Beattie's turn to wreak havoc in the Welsh defence and Parks capitalised on the disarray by dabbing through a delightful grubber that Max Evans dotted down for a try. He had to wait for the Television Match Official Geoff Warren to confirm the score but there was little doubt. Paterson's record run came to an end with a difficult touchline conversion getting the better of him.
The see-saw nature of the game continued with Roberts and Ryan Jones then breaching the gain line before drawing a penalty from the Scots that Stephen Jones slotted to keep his side in the game. But the Welsh scrum woes returned midway through the half to give Parks the chance to stretch his side's lead and his kick was never in doubt from the moment it left his boot.
Shane Williams then sparked a sweeping move with Andy Powell and Byrne offering support with the Scots happy to concede the penalty to snuff out the danger. Paterson limped out of the clash as Stephen Jones pulled the penalty wide of the posts.
A nasty injury for Thom Evans caused a lengthy delay as the half drew to a close and he was eventually stretchered from the field to be replaced by Mike Blair. Wales ended the half strongly with a snipe from Cooper laying the platform for a promising spell of pressure but again they failed to capitalise on good field position. However, Stephen Jones was able to reduce the arrears before the break with his third penalty.
The recalled Parks, who had pulled the strings for Scotland in the first half, made it 21-9 with his second penalty soon after the re-start and the away fans thought their third try had come from flanker Kelly Brown soon after, but it was called back for a forward pass.
Wales rang the changes up front and although a Hook knock-on saw another move come to nothing they were starting to look far more dangerous. The pressure paid off at last just short of the hour mark when Shane Williams made space wide out on the right, drew the tackler and put in Byrne. Jones missed the conversion, but Wales were back in it at 21-14.
Prop Gethin Jenkins lasted only 10 minutes on his return from injury and the task for Wales became harder again when Parks kicked a long-range drop goal - his second of the game - with 15 minutes left. Wales were handed a lifeline when Scotland prop Scott Lawson was sin-binned seven minutes from the end after referee George Clancy ran out of patience with the Scottish pack. Wales opted to kick for the lineout and the ball was subsequently worked through the hands to Roberts who went over, but as the home crowd celebrated the play was called back for crossing in midfield.
Wales were soon back on the front foot and Halfpenny was the beneficiary as they carved the tired Scots open once more. Jones slotted the easy conversion and with three minutes remaining only three points separated the teams. It was all Wales now and when Byrne kicked ahead with the line at his mercy Phil Godman tripped him and was sin-binned as well. Faced with the decision of whether to secure the draw or go for the lineout and the win, Wales skipper Ryan Jones opted for the kick and Jones obliged to make it 24-24 with only seconds of normal time remaining.
And in the last play of the game Wales attacked again, ruthlessly stretching the beleaguered Scots, before Williams darted over to score the winning try under the posts.
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