Monday 25 September 2017

Powell's golf buggy shame mars miracle comeback

Wales 31
Scotland 24

James Corrigan at the millennium stadium

The raucous celebrations carried on long into the night in Cardiff on Saturday; apparently far too long and far too raucously for Andy Powell.

The Wales flanker was one of two men arrested at 6am yesterday for allegedly taking a golf buggy from the team hotel and driving it a few miles on the M4 to a service station.

A police spokesman confirmed that two men were arrested and one failed a breath test at the spot, roughly three miles from the team hotel, from where the buggy is believed to have been taken. Powell (pictured right) has been charged with drink-driving, and said through his agent he was "very sorry and embarrassed".

This was certainly not news Warren Gatland would have wanted after seeing his team play the ultimate "Get Out Of Jail" card.

This outrageous finale does not deserve to be overshadowed by Powell's disgrace. The red resurrection has already been labelled "the greatest comeback in the history of international rugby".

Over the top? Well consider that Wales were 10 points down with four minutes to go and ended up winning by seven.

But there was more than the mere gobsmacked about the Scottish reaction. There was genuine anger, too. Phil Godman believes Lee Byrne did 'a Didier Drogba' to win the penalty with 40 seconds left and force the yellow card which ultimately decided this absorbing contest. "I jumped, Byrne chipped over me and he's milked it. It was not a trip," insisted Godman.

The Welsh camp are adamant it was a trip and besides, Scotland were the architects of their own staggering downfall in so many other respects.

If Scott Lawson, the reserve hooker, had not earned a needless yellow card in the 73rd minute, then the visitors would have held out. If Chris Cusiter had found touch with the penalty five minutes from time, they would have held out.

And even after the Godman "trip" the Scots kept blasting the musket at their own tootsies.

It was 24-24 and with time for one more play, Mike Blair could have kicked the ball off the pitch at the restart and the game would have been drawn. But he was told by his captain Cusiter to keep play alive. "We wanted to win a penalty and get ourselves back in front," explained Cusiter.

Coach Andy Robinson recognised his side's culpability talking about "10 minutes of sheer madness" and saying: "With the last play of the game we committed suicide."

They had just 13 men on the pitch and the Dragon's tail was finally up.

Ryan Jones had made his own brave captain's call when instructing Stephen Jones to kick the Godman penalty and bring the scores level. "I thought let's get the draw, get the pressure off and then pray there was time to score off the last play."

There was and they did, with the brilliant Shane Williams grabbing the winning try. Wales coach Gatland called it "the most amazing game I've ever been involved in". But he was desperately fortunate not to have presided over a humbling defeat.

Scotland also have three backs ruled out for the rest of the Six Nations -- Chris Paterson, Rory Lamont and Thom Evans, who was hospitalised with a neck injury but was yesterday able to move his arms and legs.

They were so good for so long, with their three outstanding back-row of Johnnie Beattie, John Barclay and Kelly Brown, and with out-half Dan Parks enjoying the game of his life.

"The players are distraught and hurt," said the distraught and hurt Robinson. (© Independent News Service)

Wales -- L Byrne; L Halfpenny, J Hook, J Roberts, S Williams; S Jones, G Cooper (R Rees 41); P James (G Jenkins 49), G Williams (H Bennett 49), A Jones; J Thomas, A-W Jones; A Powell (B Davies 49), M Williams (S Warburton 69), R Jones (capt).

Scotland -- C Paterson (M Evans 30); T Evans (M Evans 18-28, M Blair 36), S Lamont, G Morrison, R Lamont (P Godman 72); D Parks (A MacDonald 79), C Cusiter (capt); A Dickinson (A Jacobsen 58), R Ford (S Lawson 58), E Murray; J Hamilton (R Gray 78), A Kellock; K Brown, J Barclay, J Beattie.

Ref -- George Clancy (Ireland).

Irish Independent

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