Metcalfe reflects on winning start
Tonight, rugby fans all over the world will be able to re-live Scotland’s opening match in the 1999 Five Nations title-winning campaign against Wales at BT Murrayfield.
The full game will be shown on the Scottish Rugby Facebook page and YouTube channel at 7pm BST, with commentary from the late, great Bill McLaren.
The fixture was a Murrayfield debut for full-back Glenn Metcalfe and one that is hard to look past as it had just about everything.
Glenn, capped 40 times, who went by the nick-name Snowy, thanks to his mop of blonde hair, chatted to the Official Scottish Rugby podcast this week from his home in New Zealand about the upcoming fixture that will be shown as a full ‘live’ replay tonight.
Speaking to the Official Scottish Rugby Podcast, former Scotland International Glenn Metcalfe said: “It was my first game at Murrayfield at that level in the Five Nations and from the kick-off it was like a blur. I don’t think I’ve heard an atmosphere (like it).”
The match was the first pillar in spectacular foundations as Scotland went on to lift the last ever Five Nations Championship.
“The first game against Wales, I can’t remember thinking how good this could pan out,” he said.
Metcalfe, who had come to Scotland to play club rugby for Glasgow Accies and then Glasgow Hawks, before he was capped twice on Scotland’s tour to Australia in 1998, was part of a Scotland back division which included Gary Armstrong, Gregor Townsend, John Leslie, Alan Tait and Kenny Logan.
There was a reason for the racket that day against Wales. John Leslie, like Metcalfe, New Zealand-born, but qualifying for Scotland through his grandparents, had collected Duncan Hodge’s kick-off and scored with hardly 12 seconds on the clock.
“It was planned,” Glenn recalled. “It was always set for John to come out of the line, to come from the shadows and try to deflect the attention to the other side.
“John was never going to drop that ball. He got up in the air, right up in front of everyone else. It was perfect.”
The architect of the plan was Jim Telfer, Scotland’s head coach. Matthew Robinson, the Swansea winger, was winning his first cap for Wales and as the ball went aerial in his direction, Leslie leapt and did the rest.
We’ll leave an element of surprise to the game that will be shown and hold back on the details for viewers – but Scotland scored three more tries that day via Townsend, Tait and Scott Murray – but safe to say, as Glenn remarked that it was a “back and forth” contest against an impressive Welsh team with a smattering of Lions from the successful 1997 tour to South Africa.
Metcalfe added: “We had a good feeling from the start (of the 1999 campaign). There was a good buzz around the team.”
Listen to this week’s Official Scottish Rugby Podcast with Glenn Metcalfe - hosted by Chris Paterson, Al Kellock and Jamie McMillan.