Stephen Jones v England – 2003 RWC Australia
“[Shane Williams is] going to get around Kay, no problem! Off he goes, this is Cooper. Robinson in front! Jones, Thomas. Has to be a try if he holds on! And there it is for Jones! AAAHHHHHH! One of the tries of the tournament!”
This week’s try is an absolute classic and considered one of the finest tries in one of the most exciting games of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Wales had already won the hearts of the crowd after a heroic display against the mighty All Blacks in a 12 try, 90 point thriller. However, after escaping the pool stages, Wales came head to head with Six Nations rivals and eventual World Champions, England.
It all began with little Shane Williams gathering a long kick downfield and beginning his counterattack by stepping around the big English lock, Ben Kay, and drawing Jonny Wilkinson before popping the ball up for Gareth Cooper to collect at pace. The little scrumhalf accelerated between two white shirted defenders before fixing fullback Jason Robinson and passing to the omnipresent Gareth Thomas who was brought down by a desperate, albeit impressive, Wilkinson tap tackle.
It looked as if the move could’ve been snuffed out there and then, but a characteristic offload from the fullback found Shane Williams once more who juggled with the ball for a heart stopping moment as Ben Cohen thundered towards him. The winger managed to flick the ball back inside to Stephen Jones in support who rushed over the try line and grounded the ball to the delight of both the crowd and the commentators!
Jones, a Welsh and Scarlets legend, retired from international rugby in 2012 with 104 caps and 917 points for Wales with a further 6 British and Irish Lions appearances and 53 points. For the Scarlets, between 1996 and 2012 (with a two year period spent playing for Clermont Auvergne), Jones appeared 316 times and claimed a whopping 2039 points for the club and region. The former Wasps attack coach will re-join the Scarlets ahead of the 2015-16 season as backs coach.