Scotland 25-13 England: Scotland win first Calcutta Cup since 2008
Last Updated: 25/02/18 7:05am
Scotland produced a superb performance to outwit England and win their first Calcutta Cup trophy since 2008 with a 25-13 win at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Finn Russell answered his critics with a remarkable display that showcased all his skills while back-rowers John Barclay, Hamish Watson and hooker Stuart McInally were superb at the breakdown.
It was only England's second defeat in 26 games since Eddie Jones took over, as the game showcased two contrasting styles. Scotland looked to move the ball out of the tackle as often as possible, while England looked for their big men to carry into contact.
However, it was Scotland's intent, physicality and ambition - matched by an accuracy that was missing in their first two games - that won the day.
Scotland scored three tries - two from Huw Jones and one from Sean Maitland - while Greig Laidlaw added two conversions and a penalty, with Russell kicking a penalty of his own.
England showed plenty of character in the second half as they fought their way back into the game with Owen Farrell going over to add to the eight points he scored with the boot, but ultimately England ran out of time and ideas - especially when Sam Underhill was yellow carded with 15 minutes to go.
Scotland started the game at great pace as they looked to get the ball wide at every opportunity and got around England's narrow defence on several occasions.
Their first try came in the 16th minute as they took a quick lineout that caught England on the hop and their driving maul got them straight onto the front foot. A quick grubber from Russell had Watson under pressure and when he could not gather it, Jones was on hand to score with Laidlaw adding the conversion.
England clawed back six points with two Farrell penalties - one of them a harsh call on Grant Gilchrist for obstruction as Laidlaw was looking to clear.
However, the hosts continued to play at pace and Russell set up their second with a tantalising floating pass that sailed over Watson's head for Huw Jones to race into space. Quick ball saw the ball spread wide with Maitland finishing off a wonderful score. Laidlaw could not add the extras but the quality of Scotland's attack was outstanding.
Jones scored his second and Scotland's third in the 37th minute after bursting through off a Laidlaw pass - he still had plenty to do and despite the attention of Brown and Watson he had the power to get over. Laidlaw added the extras and England were facing a mountain to climb at 22-6 down as the first half ended.
England showed their character as they came out with intent and got the start they wanted - twice they were denied with some great work from Barclay on the ground but Care fired out a torpedo pass onto Farrell, coming in at pace, and he went over unopposed. His conversion made it 22-13.
England thought they had scored their second when Care intercepted a Scotland pass, but it was called back as Owens played advantage.
Scotland butchered a chance of their own when they had a three-man overlap and then England were denied once more when Farrell went over. However, replays showed that Courtney Lawes had knocked on tackling John Barclay and the try did not stand.
Underhill came on for Nathan Hughes and made an immediate impact at the breakdown but was yellow carded with 15 minutes to go for a no-arms tackle on James Bhatti.
Russell extended Scotland's lead to 12 points with the penalty and despite intense pressure from England in the final quarter, the hosts held on for the historic win.
What a comeback from Finn Russell who showed real grit after two underwhelming performances against Wales and France. He controlled the game brilliantly and masterminded a magnificent first half for Scotland.
Scotland were excellent in attack but it was also their defence that impressed as they matched England physically and did not take a step backwards. That physicality apparently started in the tunnel after the warm-up where Owen Farrell and Ryan Wilson where involved in a fracas.
Not so much as bad but rather a case of 'not so good'…England will be rueing a few missed chances - especially Danny Care's intercept that was called back and that knock on from Lawes as he made one of his trademark crunching tackles. England's big guns did not fire either while the breakdown will also be a concern for England who were outplayed in that area and perhaps Sam Underhill should have made an earlier appearance.