Friday 27 April 2018

From last minute drama to bowing out with a bang

Six of the best matches from the championship's modern era

Stanger on hand to keep Murrayfield fortress intact

(MARCH 17, 1990)

Following unprecedented media build-up, David Sole led his Scotland team on a purposeful slow march to greet the Auld Enemy in this Grand Slam decider.

Centre Jeremy Guscott crossed for England's first try in Edinburgh in 10 years, but three Craig Chalmers penalties helped Scotland to a five-point advantage at the break.

The hosts attacked from the restart with Gavin Hastings chipping over for winger Tony Stanger (pictured) to chase and touch down.

That try left England requiring at least two scores.

Rob Andrew's single penalty was not enough as resilient Scottish defending earned a third Slam against the odds.

Saint-Andre flair dails to scupper overdue England celebrations

(MARCH 16, 1991)

The Grand Slam and the match was won by a brutally efficient England, with Philippe Saint-Andre's length-of-the-field try, epitomising Gallic flair, ultimately in vain.

The move started when Pierre Berbizier collected a missed goal attempt from Simon Hodgkinson and fed the enigmatic full-back Serge Blanco. Blanco decided to run from behind his own line before Didier Camberabero chipped over one defender on the right wing, collected and kicked in-field for Saint-Andre (pictured) to score under the posts.

However, Hodgkinson scored four penalties, added to Rob Andrew's drop-goal and Rory Underwood's try to send Twickenham into raptures with England's first Slam in 11 years.

Hastings bows out with bang on magic day for Scottish

(MARCH 18, 1995)

A moment of magic from Gregor Townsend in the last minute of the match ended Scotland's 26-year run without a win in the French capital.

Captain Gavin Hastings latched on to the 'Toonie flip' -- a sublime reverse pass from centre Townsend, which found the full-back bursting through a gap in the French three-quarter line -- to score.

Hastings converted himself for Scotland's maiden win at the Parc des Princes.

The heroic Hastings (pictured), in his final season of international rugby before a brief sojourn in NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores, finished with 18 points in a momentous match, which capped a memorable career.

Gibbs' dramatic try lands Five Nations title for Scotland

(APRIL 11, 1999)

Scott Gibbs scored under the posts for Wales to defeat England in their temporary home and hand Scotland the last Five Nations title.

England were chasing the Grand Slam and Dan Luger's second-minute score gave them a dream start.

Steve Hanley touched down on his debut and Richard Hill crossed before half-time, but Wales kept in touch through the metronomic boot of Neil Jenkins.

Shane Howarth went over early in the second half before Gibbs (pictured) tore through England's defence to leave Jenkins to kick the two points required for victory.

It was a fitting finale to the oldest rugby championship in the world before the introduction of Italy.

Gatland era takes off after Roses brought back to earth

(FEBRUARY 2, 2008)

An astounding second-half fightback saw Wales record a first win at Twickenham since 1988.

In his first match in charge, New Zealander Warren Gatland (pictured) selected a record 13 Ospreys in his starting line-up and the decision was entirely vindicated. Toby Flood crossed for a try and Jonny Wilkinson added four penalties and a conversion to put World Cup finalists England in control.

But, trailing 19-6, Wales scored 20 unanswered points in 13 second-half minutes to prevail.

Lee Byrne and Mike Phillips scored tries, while James Hook kicked 16 points as Wales returned west along the M4 with the first points of a memorable Grand Slam campaign.

O'Driscoll leads way as ice-cool O'Gara ends 61 years of Irish hurt

(MARCH 21, 2009)

Ireland ended a 61-year wait for Grand Slam glory and landed their first Six Nations title after dramatically dethroning Wales.

The Irish recovered from a 6-0 interval deficit, but only after Wales out-half Stephen Jones missed a 50-metre penalty with the game's final kick.

Out-half Ronan O'Gara's drop-goal won the game for Ireland after Wales led 15-14, but it was captain Brian O'Driscoll who fittingly set the ball rolling, touching down for Ireland's second-half opener before wing Tommy Bowe added a second try.

O'Gara (pictured) slotted both conversions, sinking Wales, who remained in the contest through four Jones penalties and his late drop-goal, as Ireland emulated the all-conquering team of 1948.

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