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Sunday, April 11, 1999 Published at 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK

Wales snatch glory from England

Dan Luger scores a sensational opening try

Wales 32-31 England

A superb last-gasp try from Scott Gibbs denied England the Five Nations Championship in dramatic and heartbreaking fashion on Sunday.

The British Lion side-stepped five England players to go over the line, and Neil Jenkins, who was immaculate with his kicking all afternoon, kicked the winning points.

BBC Radio 5 Live's Iain Robertson reports
It meant defeat for England, and the Championship going to Scotland.

Wales had worked hard during the second-half, after an early display of running rugby from England.

Scott Gibbs: "I'm not usually a great try scorer" (BBC Radio 5 Live)
The Welsh pack, undoubtedly wary of their more experienced counterparts, were more than a match for England however, causing havoc in the scrums and securing good ball from the lineout.

Quick score

England started quickly - and within two minutes had touched over for their first try, with Dan Luger set free by Matt Perry from the Welsh 22 after a brilliantly worked move. Jonny Wilkinson made no mistake with the conversion in front of the posts.

[ image: Shane Howarth is tackled by Jonny Wilkinson]
Shane Howarth is tackled by Jonny Wilkinson
Eight minutes later Wales had clawed the gap back to just one point, with Neil Jenkins slotting home two penalties.

England increased their lead, however, after Wales conceded a penalty for diving over - Wilkinson again making no mistake.


Yet another Welsh penalty, this time for English offside, saw Jenkins close the gap to just one point.

On 21 minutes, Matt Dawson fed quick ball to Mike Catt, who slipped to the speeding Steve Hanley and the 19-year-old debutant went over for his maiden international try.

It had been a superb start from England - who had looked adventurous with ball in hand, with Wales constantly on the back foot.

England should have added another try to their name when Catt launched a superb break to immobilise the Welsh pack, but failed to find the killer pass five yards out to either feed Luger or score himself.

With five minutes left of the half, England regained the lead from the boot of Wilkinson - with Wales penalised for going over the top.


But worse was to follow for Wales, with Shane Howarth and Gareth Thomas colliding after a kick over the top from Mike Catt - leaving Richard Hill to touch down.

A Wilkinson conversion increased the England lead to 10 points and provided the cue for the first sustained Welsh charge at the end of the first half.

[ image: Neil Back (left) and Neil Jenkins clash]
Neil Back (left) and Neil Jenkins clash
The net result of that pressure was another penalty, which Jenkins duly converted to close the deficit to seven points and keep intact his 100% record.


Despite being ahead at halt-time, England would have been disappointed not to have made more of their dominance.

And they were left cursing themselves at the start of the second half, when Howarth finished off a beautifully floated pass from Jenkins to touch down on the England left.

It marked a shift in the Welsh play - with Jenkins maintaining his fantastic kicking record to level the scores again.

England came storming back, and a strong forward movement resulted in the Welsh being caught offside, and Wilkinson made the kick from just outside the 22-yard line.

England, who had looked so dominant in the early part of the game, began to creak, however, with Howarth and Jenkins sending England back into their half with some superbly angled kicks.

After another impressive penalty from Wilkinson, Jason Leonard was then shown the yellow card for a late tackle on Howarth.

[ image: Steve Hanley scores on his debut]
Steve Hanley scores on his debut
With just 15 minutes of the match remaining, England moved quick ball from left to right, and Matt Perry seemed certain to put the match beyond Wales, until he dropped the ball just five yards from the line.

Only six points behind, Wales undoubtedly sensed victory, running every opportunity they had - only to be confronted by a wall of white shirts.

That it, until Gibbs, tore through the England defence in a remarkable solo break to touch down just to the right of the posts.

It left Jenkins the unenviable task of having to convert the winning kick.

Welsh fans need not have worried. The Pontypridd man who now boasts more than 750 international points never looked like missing.

And when the final whistle blew it marked an incredible finale to the oldest rugby Championship in the world.

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