Guinness Six Nations
England 6-11 Scotland
Scotland smashed their Twickenham hoodoo to smithereens with a famous win to regain the Calcutta Cup on the 150th anniversary of their rivalry with England.
Duhan van der Merwe’s first-half try and a pair of Finn Russell penalties guided them to their first victory at England HQ since 1983, while the defending champions limped to their first home Championship defeat in three years.
The hosts conceded far too many penalties and, though Scotland struggled to convert possession and territory into points, they dominated the match.
Van der Merwe muscled his way through three tacklers to dot down in the corner for the game’s only try, while England’s points came from a pair of Owen Farrell penalties.
Like last year, England will have to play catch-up in the 2021 Six Nations, while Scotland have now won four straight Championship games.
Scotland scored the first points in this rivalry 150 years ago and they did the same here, with the returning fly-half Russell on hand to boot through a penalty after the visitors – aided by a series of England penalties – marched up the field.
England were too careless, conceding seven penalties in the first 17 minutes as they struggled to live with Scotland’s high-tempo game.
With debutant centre Cameron Redpath looking immediately comfortable, the only frustration for visiting head coach Gregor Townsend was that they were unable to take advantage on the scoreboard in the first 20 minutes.
However, England continued to make errors and their ninth penalty, conceded in just the 23rd minute, was one too many for referee Andrew Brace and Billy Vunipola was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle.
Scotland failed to score from their initial spell of pressure, Stuart Hogg’s cross-field kick bouncing just over Van der Merwe outstretched hands.
But they came straight back and finally broke through on the half-hour mark, with Van der Merwe muscling his way to the line from ten metres out after a neat passing move from right to left.
Russell missed the conversion, leaving Scotland with an 8-0 lead. But that was short-lived, as England finally got on the scoreboard with an Owen Farrell penalty from 44 metres that kick-started their afternoon.
Just after Vunipola returned, Scotland lost a man of their own to the bin, as Russell was caught by the TMO for deliberately tripping Ben Youngs with his leg.
Farrell mopped up with his second penalty of the game – taking him past 100 Test points against Scotland – to remarkably reduce the gap to just two points at the break.
England had a man advantage at the beginning of the second half but Hogg’s booming kick to the corner gave Scotland great field position.
And it brought them three points as Russell returned to kick his second penalty of the day.
England struggled to keep possession – with seven phases the longest they could muster up to the 50th minute – while Scotland continued to gain ground and win the kicking game.
Russell missed his third penalty attempt in the 54th minute to let England off the hook for a Maro Itoje penalty, just as England head coach Eddie Jones was seen sprinting to the bench to orchestrate changes.
The game ebbed and flowed from there. A beautiful spiral kick from Hogg kept England pinned inside their own 22 but, just as Scotland looked destined to score a try from a driving maul, Jonny Hill won a key turnover on his own line.
England then secured their first meaningful territory of the half but struggled to find an attacking rhythm, with Farrell guilty of a poor attempt at a grubber that went straight to Scottish hands inside the visitors’ 22.
With the weather worsening, the game became a battle – and it was one Scotland increasingly won.
They struggled to deliver the killer blow as Hogg mis-cued a long-range penalty with eight minutes left that would have stretched the lead to eight points.
But England could not hit back and the visitors saw the game out sparking wild celebrations at the whistle.
England will look to recover from this loss when they host Italy next weekend while Scotland could go two thirds of the way to winning the Triple Crown when they face Wales at Murrayfield.