Five memorable clashes between Scotland and Wales

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Something special could be in the offing at BT Murrayfield as Scotland and Wales meet in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

Something special could be in the offing at BT Murrayfield as Scotland and Wales meet in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

This is a fixture with a rich history of producing show-stopping drama, including a couple of moments that might even be Test records.

Paul Thorburn’s penalty kick in 1986 still stands as one of, if not the longest penalty kicked in a Test, while John Leslie’s try in 1999 might be the fastest ever.

As rugby statistician Stuart Farmer says: “We can’t be definitive as accurate timing is a fairly recent thing. Certainly Leslie’s at 9.52s is one of the quickest ever Test tries.

“Leo Price’s at Twickenham in 1923 was reported as “from the kick-off” and “within the first ten seconds”. It’s the same sort of thing with the penalty kick, measuring is a very recent phenomenon, again I’m not aware of a longer kick in Tests.”

With its record-breaking pedigree, the opening offering of Round Four could prove one for the ages, with visitors Wales having recorded 12 successive Test triumphs and Scotland looking to roar back to winning ways in front of a passionate home crowd.

Anticipation continues to build and ahead of Saturday’s showdown, we’ve taken a look back at five classic encounters between these two protagonists in Rugby’s Greatest Championship.

Scotland 22-25 Wales – 1986

This fixture was typified by more superhuman feats back in Cardiff in March 1986, with Paul Thorburn earning himself a particular slice of international rugby history.

With Wales leading 16-15, rather than kick to touch when the hosts were awarded a penalty, full-back Thorburn took aim from 70 yards and eight inches and duly stunned the world as he bisected the posts from inside his own half.

Thorburn slotted away four other penalties to inspire Wales to a 22-15 triumph over Scotland – but none as spectacular as the effort that saw him achieve the seemingly impossible.

Scotland 33-20 Wales – 1999

Blink and you’ll miss it – in the 1999 Five Nations, John Leslie fired Scotland on their way to a 33-20 success over Wales in Edinburgh with a score widely-regarded as the fastest-ever form kick-off.

Leaping to pluck the ball from the open arms of Shane Howarth, Leslie streaked away and dotted down over the line in a breakneck 9.52 seconds.

Scott Murray, Alan Tait and current Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend were also on the scoresheet but Leslie left his mark on both this game and the Championship, as Scotland won the final ever Five Nations.

Scotland 28-28 Wales – 2001

Scotland and Wales have drawn just three times in Test history and their meeting in the 2001 Championship, a brilliant Scotland fightback saw matters end with honours even in Edinburgh.

Three first-half drop goals from Neil Jenkins and a Mark Taylor try had put Wales in total control but somehow, the Scots clawed their way back to restore parity.

Chris Paterson and James McLaren both went over before proper Tom Smith sold a dummy and rumbled over the line to help tie things up, with Scotland putting paid to a 19-point deficit.

Wales 31-24 Scotland –  2010

There was no doubting the star of the show in 2010 as Wales pulled off a superb Shane Williams-inspired comeback.

Having trailed 24-14, Wales had bitten back in sensational fashion with Lee Byrne and Leigh Halfpenny tries and, with Scotland having two men in the sin bin, Stephen Jones levelled things up with a 79th-minute penalty.

With one last throw of the dice, Wales carved out an attack down the right flank and the ball was chucked back inside for Williams to crash over and complete a memorable turnaround.

Scotland 29-13 Wales – 2017

In 2017, a Vern Cotter-led Scotland bit back with a stirring second-half showing to earn their first win over Wales since 2007.

With Liam Williams having gone over, Wales led 13-9 at the break at BT Murrayfield but from there on, Scotland were irrepressible, with Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser both scoring while Finn Russell racked up 19 points with the boot.

Wales had won on their last four visits to Edinburgh and for a moment, the result took the Cotter’s men to the top of the Championship standings by laying down a marker against their counterparts.