Scotland eye England glory in Six Nations after ending Wales hoodoo
Vern Cotter’s side going for first triple crown since 1990
Scotland aim to keep rolling back the years by defeating England at Twickenham for the first time since 1983, after beating Wales for the first time in a decade.
Vern Cotter’s side scored 20 unanswered after the break at Murrayfield on Saturday as a 13-9 interval deficit was transformed into a 29-13 victory, their first against Wales since 2007.
Second-half tries by wings Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser, plus five penalties and two conversions by stand-off Finn Russell, mean the Scots on March 11 have the chance to complete a first triple crown since their grand slam in 1990.
Victory over England would also leave Scotland with a shot at a first Six Nations title since 1999 heading into the final weekend of the tournament.
“We’re on a roll,” acknowledged Cotter, whose team achieved Scotland’s first opening-round victory in 11 years with a 27-22 home success against Ireland, before suffering a 22-16 loss to France in Paris.
“We know how hard Twickenham is,” the Scotland coach said. “It may be the record game for England. There’ll be a lot of things to play for, I think.”
Should England beat Italy at home on Sunday, they would go into the Calcutta Cup contest with a chance of equalling New Zealand’s world record of 18 consecutive wins.
“We believe we can beat England if we play like we did in the second-half,” said flanker John Barclay,stand-in captain in place of the injured Greig Laidlaw.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been here taking about a win over Wales, so hats off to the players,” said Cotter, whose side finish the Championship with a home game against Italy on March 18.
“We weren’t particularly well-positioned at half-time but the players adjusted well in the second half.
“The boys did really well. They realised they were watching Wales play rather than playing themselves.”
Wales were 16-13 down early in the second half when captain Alun Wyn Jones opted against a kickable penalty that might have tied the scores only for the lock himself to infringe at the ensuing line-out.
Afterwards Jones made the extraordinary admission that he had been over-ruled by his own goal-kickers.
“The kickers didn’t want to, so we just went for the corner,” said Jones.
“And I got done for blocking at the back of the lift then, but, yeah, I would have liked to have gone for the three [points],” added the veteran second row after an incident that must place a question mark against his chances of captaining the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand later this year.
Wales interim coach Rob Howley said Scotland had “every chance” of being in the title shake-up.
“They’ve certainly got ingredients that can make them hugely competitive in the last couple of games,” he said.
Having failed to build on their opening round win away to Italy, Wales – who subsequently suffered a last-gasp loss to England in Cardiff – have nothing but pride to play for in their final two games, at home to Ireland and away to France.
“We just weren’t accurate enough,” lamented Howley, in charge while Warren Gatland is seconded to the Lions.
“We made it easier for Scotland in the second half. We turned the ball over too many times and probably weren’t clinical when we needed to be,” the former Wales scrum-half added.
“The players are obviously hugely disappointed. It’s how you respond, and we welcome Ireland in two weeks’ time.”