Huw beauty as Scotland stun England 25-13 in Six Nations to claim overdue Calcutta Cup
Scotland’s first victory over their old rivals in a decade is just England’s second defeat in 26 tests under Eddie Jones
Huw Jones scored two tries as Scotland produced a huge upset to beat Six Nations champions England 25-13 at Murrayfield on Saturday.
It was Scotland’s first victory over their oldest rivals in a decade and just England’s second defeat in 26 tests under Australian coach Eddie Jones, with Ireland now the only side left in this season’s Six Nations who can complete a grand slam.
Scotland had not scored a try against England at Murrayfield in 14 years before Saturday’s match but, with fly-half Finn Russell pulling the strings, they ran in three in the first half of a remarkable Calcutta Cup clash.
Jones crossed twice and Sean Maitland also went over as the Scots surged into a 22-6 lead at half-time and never looked back.
It was a hugely impressive display by a Scotland side who last year suffered a 61-21 thrashing by England at Twickenham.
The match was a personal triumph for Russell, who had been taken off by coach Gregor Townsend in the 65th minute of Scotland’s preceding 32-26 win over France.
But Scotland captain John Barclay saw his forecast that Russell, well below his best in the side’s opening 34-7 loss to Wales, would have a big match vindicated in style.
“I predicted Finn Russell would be man of the match on Friday,” Barclay told the BBC.
“He plays on that line, he didn’t have his best games in the first two matches but today he was outstanding. He’s one of the best stand-offs in the world I believe.”
The blindside flanker added: “We were fuelled by last year and the disappointment of the Wales game.”
Eddie Jones paid tribute to the winners by saying: “They were too good for us today.
“It’s human nature, unfortunately we just weren’t in the game for the first 40 minutes.”
The fiery nature of this fixture was reflected by BBC reports of a pre-match scuffle in the tunnel between England’s Owen Farrell, who went on to score all his side’s points, and Scotland No 8 Ryan Wilson.
Asked if that had had any bearing on the match, Eddie Jones said: “I don’t know, I don’t think so, these things happen.”
Greig Laidlaw kicked Scotland into an early lead with a penalty – the first of a worrying 13 concede by England – before Farrell replied in kind.
Scotland had not scored a try against England at Murrayfield since wing Simon Danielli went over in 2004.
But that miserable run came to an end in the 15th minute when Scotland drove a maul into the 22, with England perhaps expecting Russell to kick possession away and opt for the penalty after referee Nigel Owens’s outstretched arm indicated the visitors had infringed.
But instead Russell took the bolder course, his well-weighted grubber kick causing panic in England’s defence and bounced kindly for outside centre Jones, who dived on the loose ball for a try under the posts which Laidlaw duly converted to make it 10-3.
Farrell’s second penalty cut the deficit before Russell then twice played a key role in creating Scotland’s second try in the 31st minute
His long pass from just outside the 22 released Jones who sprinted clear before being tackled by wing Jonny May.
Scotland recycled possession and, off the back of a ruck, Russell’s cut-out ball sent left wing Maitland in at the corner. Laidlaw missed the tricky conversion but Scotland led 15-6.
Just before half-time the Scots brought Murrayfield to its feet with their third try when Jones burst through England’s midfield and held off the despairing tackles of fullback Mike Brown and wing Anthony Watson before going under the posts.
Farrell cut the deficit to nine points early in the second half with a try the inside centre duly converted.
England thought they were about to score their second try when Care intercepted a loose pass from opposing scrum-half Laidlaw but referee Nigel Owens penalised England lock Joe Launchbury for slowing the ball at the preceding ruck.
England had another ‘try’ disallowed when Farrell was denied after replays showed flanker Courtney Lawes had knocked on when tackling Russell.
England then found themselves a man down with 14 minutes left when Sam Underhill was sin-binned for a dangerous challenge on opposing replacement Jamie Bhatti.
Russell kicked the ensuing penalty to give Scotland a 12-point cushion and there was no way back for England to the raucous delight of a capacity crowd at Murrayfield.