Six Nations 2021: England 6-11 Scotland

By Peter Hanson 7 February 2021 30
Six Nations 2021: England 6-11 Scotland

Scotland ended a 38-year wait for victory over England at Twickenham as a hard-working and industrious display earned a deserved 11-6 triumph and Calcutta Cup glory.

Not since 1983 had Scotland beaten their biggest rivals at the home of English rugby but the fired-up visitors outbattled and outplayed Eddie Jones' defending Six Nations champions.

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg were the attacking catalysts in a match marking the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between these old foes.

Rookie Scotland centre Cameron Redpath showed why there is so much hype with a promising display in an empty stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic that delayed the finish to the 2020 championship.

England were without five forwards but even accounting for that the penalty count was much too high and they were lucky to only be 8-6 down at the break – Duhan van der Merwe crossing for the game's only try.

The end result is a third Calcutta Cup in four years for Scotland, who had previously lost nine in a row between 2008 and 2017.

England's ill-discipline allowed Russell to boot over an early penalty and an accumulation of infringements led to the sin-binning of Billy Vunipola for a high, albeit loose, arm on Scotland's number 10.

Buoyed by the extra man Hamish Watson was held up at the line by Jamie George and only a cruel bounce denied Van der Merwe from meeting Russell's expert kick.

Another bomb from Russell set in motion the move from which Van der Merwe bulldozed through Mark Wilson's tackle shortly after as Scotland had reward for their dominance.

But skipper Owen Farrell quickly kicked the hosts onto the board before Russell was binned for a crude trip on Ben Youngs and another three-pointer from England's captain brought the score within two.

The numerical disadvantage did little to curb Scotland's enthusiasm early in the second half and Russell kicked a routine penalty after Ellis Genge was harshly pinged for not attempting to bind with a low tackle.

Russell missed with another effort that he will feel he should have made but still England struggled to garner any momentum.

Stuart Hogg was also off target from the tee to make it a nervy ending, but the final whistle was met with shouts of joy from the visitors.

England's depleted pack lacks punch

There is a sense of deja vu for England who lost the opening match of their 2020 title-winning campaign to France.

The absence of Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler clearly weakened a usually strong pack, while Joe Marler, Joe Launchbury and Sam Underhill were also absent. Without some key men, England lacked their usual set-piece prowess.

Russell and Hogg torment England

A year ago it looked as though Russell's international career may be over following a breakdown in the relationship with head coach Gregor Townsend.

His return to action for the 2020 finale was ended early due to an injury that ruled him out of the Autumn Nations Cup, but Scotland fans will be delighted their fly-half wizard has patched things up with Townsend after his magic helped seal a famous win.

He was helped by the brilliant Hogg, whose pin-point kicking and lightning-quick feet was a constant thorn in the side of an out-of-sorts England.

What's next?

England are at back at HQ as they aim to bounce back next Saturday when Italy visit Twickenham, the same day Scotland – who will now fancy a real crack at the title – host Wales at Murrayfield.

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Peter Hanson

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