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Monday, 20 March, 2000, 20:43 GMT
Praying for a Scottish miracle
Wales played well - but Scotland should have won
Former Scottish international John Beattie insists Scotland were unlucky in Cardiff and looks forward, with some trepidation, to the visit of the Auld Enemy.

Help me, help me. Oh no. I feel all queasy.

All Scotland now have to look forward to is England's visit to Murrayfield. The game is a Grand Slam decider and Scotland need to win to avoid the whitewash.

Six Nations Championship
A peculiar feeling has just washed over me. It's a thing called fear. But, my little friends, never predict rugby games. Never, ever, predict the result of rugby games. People who try to do so end up going daft, or they end up presenting Top of the Pops.

You see, Scotland lost to Wales in another game that, if you take a close look at the video, they should have won.

Yachida boyos. Scotland did most of the pressing, but then let the Welsh in for two tries that should have been avoided, and instead of a bright Cardiff afternoon lifting the gloom for us we have the storm clouds gathering.

Proud Welsh

As far as the game against the Welsh is concerned there was precious little New Zealand stuffing in the Welsh lamb, and it looked to me like a mighty proud Welsh team.

The Welsh looked a proud outfit
It looked like a technically capable Scottish side, but then when you see the passion, the bite, and the velocity of the Irish side against the French then you think: "Hang on, that should be us playing like that!"

John Leslie and Gregor Townsend got behind the Welsh back division as individuals, but neither was able to do an Alan Tait and finish it all off. Martin Leslie and Scott Murray had good matches, Chris Paterson and Glenn Metcalfe likewise. But it was another loss and that, frankly, is what matters.

Now, you see, when I was a kid I toured with Clive Woodward, the English coach. He was a talented individual, extremely sure of himself, and going places. The place he has gone is to the top of English rugby, and the place he is about to go is to Murrayfield.

Deep rivalry

And as Scots we know. We know deep down, way deep down, that as much as the English might believe that there is an anti-English thing in our country, most Scottish rugby folk believe that there is an anti-Scottish rugby thing down South.

Nobody in English rugby has ever forgiven the 1990 Grand Slam team in that showdown at Murrayfield.

Glenn Metcalfe: Had a good game behind the pack
It is as if Scotland stole something, or committed some dreadful sin against rugby and the English right to win that match.

We are the playground pranksters. And the English rugby team doesn't like that. Or at least they haven't liked that for 10 years.

Of course it will be denied to the end, but it's true. England won't need winding up for this one. Oh help me, I feel wobbly.

Scotland don't have millions of other players to put up against the men in white, we don't have millions of other coaches, there is a siege mentality now that they are losing, and we can only imagine what it will be like to be part of the set up as they try to dissect how the English will play.

Maybe the English will play it tighter. Maybe Clive Woodward trusts his men to be good enough to blow Scotland off the pitch with the kind of rugby they have been playing all season. Maybe we should all just not turn up, as it will be far too appalling an atmosphere to be part of.

Yes, Scotland should have won two of the games they have lost and losing all their games has set up a horrible clash against the Auld Enemy.

But, as I say, never predict rugby games. It could be Cardiff crash to Murrayfield miracle.

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See also:

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Williams double rocks Scots
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Young: Now lay off our coach
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Healey hat-trick sparks Roman romp
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Woodward eyes Slam decider
17 Mar 00 | Six Nations
O'Driscoll treble seals historic win
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Foreigners welcome in the valleys
Links to other Rugby Union stories are at the foot of the page.