BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sport: Rugby Union: Six Nations
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Monday, 3 April, 2000, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Paradise in the puddles

Family affair: Mother's Day at Murrayfield
BBC journalist and former Scotland international and John Beattie tries to get his head around a stunning Murrayfield win.

Well, very few people expected that result. It was paradise in the puddles, frenzy in the frozen wind, and the mother of all games on Mother's Day.

Six Nations Championship
My wife asked nothing more than that I came back from Murrayfield armed with a Scottish win.

I am generous to a fault.

It was a present for every Scottish mother everywhere. It is a windy day in Glasgow, but my first email of the morning asks is it not a wonderful day.

It had nothing to do with conditions. England were the heavier team, so they should have fared far better in mud with a wet ball. And it had nothing to do with form.

It had, I am afraid, everything to do with heart, bottle, passion, love of your small stupid country, drive, technique, and the inner beatings that make you want to win and pay back the doubters.

Andy Nicol: A native Scot proved a winning captain
Oh, and there are a few other things like skill and tactical awareness that help as well.

Look. So England blew it, and they made some stupid mistakes.

I count myself as British, but for England's big men, like Garath Archer and Lawrence Dallaglio, to start rough house tactics early in the game was a very, very silly mistake.

Instead of quietening the home crowd by just getting on and playing attacking, sensible rugby, they went for the cheap shots, the show, the "we're here to win" stuff.

And it back-fired I'm afraid as the crowd became inflamed, and Scott Murray and Richard Metcalfe were willing to stand toe-to-toe. In fact they all were.

England were out-scrapped in the puddles
As a rugby fan I am surprised that England, with all those big names, played like such haddocks.

They were out-scrapped, and the game was as far away as you can get from Super 12 basketball.

It was a punch-up in the puddles and it was, as Bill Mclaren might say, magic, magic, all the way.

In young Jason White, and seven-feet-tall Richard Metcalfe, Scotland have found some new lions to wear the dark blue with pride.

You see, up here where the sheep run a mile, we think of ourselves as a proud rugby country.

So for the team to play rugby that dallied behind the gain line for four games, and then change the way it played to winning rugby, was a joy to behold.

"Magic, magic all the way"
The reality check, of course, is that Scotland finish second bottom of the Six Nations table after losing to some ordinary sides and beating the best one.

It is noticeable that they have performed best with a native Scotsman at captain in the superb Andy Nicol and John Leslie not in the side.

England, by the way, should have swallowed their pride and gone out to accept the Six Nations trophy from Princess Anne.

It was, hand on heart, the toughest game of rugby I have ever seen between our two countries. The collisions on the pitch were astonishing.

Back in 1990, when Scotland did something similar, the Scots that day were on top form, also going for a Grand Slam.

On Sunday they had their backs to the wall. This win over England is all the more remarkable for that.

As I said last week, you must never, ever predict rugby results.

There are football and rugby lovers all over Scotland smiling, and I think the sun has just come out.

What a lovely, lovely day. You have to have lost to know just how good winning feels.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

02 Apr 00 | Rugby Union
Brave Scots defeat England
02 Apr 00 | Rugby Union
England sorry for trophy 'mix-up'
02 Apr 00 | Rugby Union
We were magnificent - McGeechan
03 Apr 00 | Six Nations
Scotland v England: Picture gallery
01 Apr 00 | Six Nations
Wales triumph over fighting Irish
01 Apr 00 | Six Nations
Gallant Italy edged out in Paris