Scotland win in Twickenham for first time in 38 years
Just as they did 150 years ago, Scotland win in England and claim the Calcutta Cup
Scotland’s Stuart Hogg celebrates at the final whistle. Photograph: Inpho
Scotland ended their 38-year wait for a victory at Twickenham in emphatic style on Saturday as they produced a superb performance to swamp Six Nations holders England 11-6 on the opening day of the championship and claim the Calcutta Cup.
A first-half try by winger Duhan van der Merwe helped them to an 8-6 halftime lead that should have been bigger and, with captain Stuart Hogg and debutant centre Cameron Redpath pulling the strings, they continued to dominate after the break.
Anyone watching the game with no knowledge of the teams’ relative recent pedigrees would have never believed that England were the defending champions, World Cup finalists 15 months ago and unbeaten at home by their oldest rivals since 1983.
Scotland, who missed out on a victory at Twickenham two years ago when England snatched a 38-all draw in the 83rd minute, were not to be denied this time and in truth it would have been a sporting travesty had they been.
It was a notable way for the Scots to mark the 150th anniversary of the fixture, the oldest in international rugby, having also won the first one in Edinburgh in 1871.
Scotland looked sharper and more cohesive from the start. Their dominance was rewarded with an early Finn Russell penalty and, with England’s Billy Vunipola in the sin-bin for a high tackle, a slickly made 30th-minute try was brilliantly finished by Van der Merwe who used his strength to force himself over the line.
In this fixture two years ago England were 31-0 up at that stage but they had barely passed halfway on Saturday as they were repeatedly penalised and struggled to keep the visitors at bay.
However, they got a toe-hold with an Owen Farrell penalty and would have been delighted to reach halftime only 8-6 down after another penalty that earned Russell a yellow card for a trip on Ben Youngs.
As the rain lashed down, Scotland cleverly held on to the ball to run down the sin-bin clock and did it so successfully that when Russell returned his first action was to slot an easy penalty.
Great runs by Hogg and Sean Maitland kept England on the defensive and Scotland continued to dominate and force the hosts to give away penalties.
Russell though missed a kick he would be expected to convert, and Hogg missed another from distance, that would have closed the game out. But it mattered little as when England finally did get some attacking possession Scotland’s defence stood firm.