Remembering Scotland's last Championship win

Jim Telfer's side were the last team to win the Five Nations

BY Daniel Kelly 11:50 Thursday 2 February 2017, 11:50 2 Feb 2017

Five Nations Rugby Captains (l/r) Bryan Redpath (Scotland), Paddy Johns (Ireland), Raphael Ibanez (France), Lawrence Dallaglio (England) and Rob Howley (Wales), pose with the Five Nations Trophy in London, to mark the beginning of the 1999 championships.

The Six Nations has not been a kind tournament to Scotland.

Since Italy joined the competition in 2000, Scotland have failed to finish in the top two at the tournament's conclusion. Three third-place finishes in 2001, 2006 and 2013 has been the peak of their performances.

In the all-time table of the Six Nations, Scotland lie in fifth place overall. They have lost almost three-times amount of matches they have won. Only Italy have performed worse.

Scotland's Six Nations performances have not been what was hoped once the Five Nations concluded. The Scots were the last team to win the Five Nations, in 1999. That win remains one of only two titles in a generation for Scotland. Their 1990 Grand Slam winning team was the other.

The odd-numbers of the Five Nations meant that Ireland were the team to miss out on competing in the final weekend. A win for England over Wales in their game at Wembley would have guaranteed Clive Woodward's side the title and a Grand Slam. Scotland needed to defeat France in Paris, and hope the English slipped up in their away match.

While the tournament will be best remembered for Scott Gibbs' late try in Wembley to defeat England, Scotland's 36-22 win over France in Paris is largely forgotten. It remains the last time Scotland have won a Five/Six Nations game in Paris.

Despite conceding a try to Emile Ntamack in the opening two minutes, Scotland scored five tries in the first half to set up the famous win. Forward Martin Leslie and centre Alan Tait scored two tries each, with current Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend scoring the other.

Speaking to ESPN in 2015, Townsend said it was one of the best performances Scotland produced in his time with the team.

"You hear individual sportsmen talk about being 'in the zone', but that was the only time where I felt in the zone with a team. We wished that half could last 80 minutes, because we were just moving, offloading the ball, and playing at pace, and everyone understood collectively that we were here to play."

Jim Telfer coached the team in 1999. He told ESPN that he did not expect Wales to beat England, winning Scotland the title.

"History can be made by little decisions here and there. No one would have remembered us if we'd ended up second in the championship in 1999. But because it was the last one and because we'd won it - it stands out as something special."

Such was the surprise and England's defeat, Scotland were only presented with the trophy on the Monday afternoon, two days after the win.


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