Scotland beat England 20-17 at Murrayfield
Scotland retain Calcutta Cup
The Calcutta Cup is staying in Edinburgh after Scotland backed up last season’s hoodoo-humping win at Twickenham with a 20-17 victory at home. The last time Scotland defeated the Auld Enemy back-to-back was in 1984.
Scotland took their scant chances when they presented themselves. And despite the drizzle and tight scoreline, there was plenty of drama between the whistles.
But ultimately this match turned on a few moments of panic. England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie slapped the ball into touch and was sent to the sin bin while referee Ben O’Keefe went under the sticks for a penalty try. That brought the scoreline to 17-17 late. Soon after, Finn Russell put a ball into the corner, where prop Joe Marler attempted to throw to the front for Alex Dombrandt, but it didn’t go five metres and Scotland would earn a penalty from the resultant scrum. Russell made it 20-17, and that was how the scoreline stayed.
Could England have been patient and got replacement hooker Jamie George on to throw? Could England have had a scrum penalty in the very final moments as O’Keefe reset a number of set-pieces in close view of the Scottish posts? It was one final scrap and in the scurrying from a last completed scrum, the Scots managed to smuggle the ball out of England’s grasp and work it off the field.
England have won the Calcutta Cup just once in the last five years.
The first try of the game came from Scotland’s replacement scrum-half Ben White – who also lifted the trophy at the end of the match. On earlier than expected as Ali Price went off for an HIA, he finished off an excellent move forged in Hawick. With captain Stuart Hogg running across the field and pulling defenders towards him, Darcy Graham hared off his wing to take a short ball and slip between two England defenders. After stepping away from Joe Marchant, he was left with a two-on-one to feed White in support.
Marcus Smith had a couple of penalties to his name, but it wasn’t until the second half that the fly-half got England’s only try.
With the English pack on top, they got a handle on their own driving maul and lured Scotland into infringing. With the advantage Ben Youngs scampered to his left and pushed a short ball to Smith who crashed over. With four penalties to his name and the converted try, Smith scored all of England’s points and departed the field with his side in the driving seat.
Eddie Jones rung the changes, including taking off Smith for George Ford. On the other side, Scotland decided to switch things up too. Russell dug into his bag of tricks and pulled out two crossfield kicks. One to make headway up the left, and then soon to the right corner, where a Cowan-Dickie misjudgment awaited.
The trajectory and potential destination of the ball in that big moment will be debated throughout the week ahead. What we know for certain, however, is that the Calcutta Cup is going nowhere.
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