BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Jim Calder firmly believes Scotland are capable of scoring a try against Wales this afternoon to rival his breathtaking 1982 effort – but fears a win may be beyond the nation yet again.
The 1984 Grand Slam hero was on the end of one of Scotland’s best-ever scores when he finished off a pitch-length attack in the 34-18 victory in Cardiff 24 years ago.
The flanker enjoys catching re-runs of the effort that helped the Scots end two decades without a win in the principality.
And he would love the current crop of exciting attackers to grab the headlines with a try to match his own.
However, although he is keeping his fingers crossed for a victory that would end a dire run of eight Six Nations outings without success, the 58-year-old knows the current Wales side are unlikely to be obliging hosts.
Calder, who now runs ‘head-hunting’ business Jim Calder Associates, said: “I just think most of us will be hoping for a good performance and to get the boys back intact with no more injuries, so that we’ve got a good shout in Italy.
“If someone said we would beat France at home and Italy away this season then I think we would all be delighted.
“When we won it was 20 years since we had last won in Cardiff, so it was hugely unexpected, but in the amateur days you could do things like that, with a good coach like Jim Telfer and a clutch of good, strong players
“But it’s so much more difficult in the professional era when everyone knows everyone else inside out.
“Wales are a top side and they’re in Cardiff and they play such a safety-first game; they’re not going to throw the ball about.
“I’d love it, particularly for the players, to have some success. It would just change things dramatically.
“But I really do think we can go to Italy and get a result and I do think we can beat France. This weekend is more about keeping the squad from getting any more injuries and get them feeling positive ahead of that.”
Winger Roger Baird began the try in 1982 that still gets shown ahead of this fixture, with Iain Paxton then galloping half-way to the try line and passing to lock forward Alan Tomes, who in turn fed Calder five yards out to dot down.
Calder admits a repeat from the likes of Finn Russell, Mark Bennett, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour would go down a treat this afternoon.
Calder told Capital City Press: “It’s so long ago that it’s great to see every so often. It was all down to Roger Baird, who was quick-witted and a lovely runner, and he stepped up the touchline and Iain Paxton took it on.
“It was unusual in a way that Alan Tomes and myself finished it off, but the first two were complete thoroughbreds, top-quality athletes.
“I think we all like that about Scotland at the moment, that we are capable of doing that again. If there’s a half-opportunity, wide out from distance, we’ll be looking to maximise that.
“With players like Russell, Bennett, Hogg and Seymour, there are guys who can turn things around from a long way out.
“That’s probably still our best hope and that Greig Laidlaw kicks everything that comes his way and Wales miss a few, and hopefully they’re not signing with 10 minutes to go – that will be a pretty good result!”