Gatland lauds great escape
February 13, 2010
Wales winger Shane Williams celebrates after his game-winning try in Cardiff © Getty Images
Head coach Warren Gatland described Wales's 31-24 victory over Scotland as "one of the most amazing games I've ever been involved in."
The Welsh came from 10 points down in the last four minutes, scoring two converted tries and a penalty, and a relieved Gatland stated, "The Scots will be hugely disappointed, but what a great advert for the game. We tried to play a lot of rugby and they came to play too. Defensively it was one of our worst games for a while and like last week (the loss to England) we started slowly, but the guys worked hard and I think their two yellow cards were fair in the end - the referee had given them enough warnings."
Captain Ryan Jones had the chance to settle for a draw as the game went into added time, but went for the win and Shane Williams's try gave them it. "Decisions like that you live and die by," he said. "It's a huge relief when it pays off, but any more like that and I will be as grey as Warren."
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson blamed "10 minutes of sheer madness" for their second Championship defeat but he was also full of praise for the way his side had played in building a 24-14 lead entering the final four minutes.
"I don't think I have ever felt like this in any game I've ever been involved in," commented the former England coach. "It's mixed emotions. I think the Scottish players did their country proud and I thought tactically we were very smart in the way we took the game to Wales for 70 minutes.
"It was pretty frantic - very frantic - and we lost our shape a little bit. Apart from 10 minutes of sheer madness I think we would have gone on to win the game. In the dressing room there are some distraught and hurting players, but they can take great heart from this. International rugby is a ruthless business and allowing Wales to play cost us."
However, Robinson did not think Phil Godman should have been sin-binned late on for tripping Lee Byrne. "I've seen the tape and I'm bitterly disappointed that the penalty was given. He jumped up to go for the ball and I'm very confident in saying I didn't think it was a penalty."
Robinson had even more reason to feel gutted by the result because he tried to get the message to his team to kick the ball directly out from the restart in added time when the scores were level. "The message didn't get through, but I thought the guys were looking at the clock," he stated. "It would have been the end of the game."
Shane Williams is hoping that Wales' come-from-behind victory over Scotland in Cardiff will breathe new life into Wales' Six Nations title challenge.
"It was great to be a part of. If that can't turn us around I don't know what can," the Ospreys winger told BBC Sport. "But it's not good for the nerves at this age, I'll be honest with you. We know we didn't start well, the pressure was on us. The boys stuck in there right to the end, we did absolutely everything out there today."
Scotland winger Thom Evans was being treated in hospital tonight after suffering a serious injury during the game. Evans was stretchered off with an apparent back injury just before half-time and the game was held up for several minutes while he was being attended to.
"His parents are with him," said Robinson. "I can't say any more and we've just got to wait and see. Part of it is that it takes time to settle, but our thoughts are with him."
Fullback Chris Paterson had also been injured in the first-half of his 100th cap - he is the first Scot to reach the milestone - and was also in hospital being checked over for an abdominal problem.