World Cup Memories – For the Lead

“[Martyn] Williams, the throw inside to Peel. Peel to Popham! Popham still going. Jenkins feeds. Hook. It must be a try? It is a try, Mark Jones runs it around and the Welsh find the lead.”

Wales v Fiji - Rugby World Cup 2007

The next try comes from a World Cup that’s barely mentioned in Wales these days, the unfortunate campaign of 2007 when Wales were knocked out in the pool stages by a rampant Fijian team. Despite the loss, Wales scored a brilliant try through the work of Dwayne Peel, Stephen Jones, Alix Popham and finished off by Mark Jones. Wales were clawing their way back from a 3-25 score deficit with the likes of Colin Charvis and Gareth Thomas called upon to rally their team and bring the Welsh boys back. Nine minutes into the second half, Wales were back within three points and looked threatening with ball in hand.

A Welsh lineout on Fiji’s 10m line saw Martyn Williams pop the ball down to Dwayne Peel, who took it at full pace and streaked past the Fijian line. The scramble defence managed to get to the scrumhalf but not before he could offload to Alix Popham in support. The aggressive number eight hurled himself onwards, driving to within five metres of the try line. Quick ball allowed Gethin Jenkins to act as scrumhalf and give the ball to Stephen Jones, who spins the ball out to James Hook who in turn passes to Mark Jones on the wing. The flyer raced over the try line untouched and planted the ball down for the try.

A flurry of penalty kicks handed Fiji the lead once more, but an interception by Martyn Williams seemed to have clinched the victory for Wales but a controversial TMO decision awarded Fiji a late try that was enough to see them escape the pool and into the Quarters.

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