6 Nations 2018: Scotland 25-13 England

A packed Murrayfield, and a glorious day for rugby. And a raucous crowd – could they make the difference to an underdog Scotland team facing Eddie Jones’s unbeaten England?

The start was bright enough: it was just under two minutes before Greig Laidlaw opened the scoring with a penalty. Scotland were energised in defence, and Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg were lively going forward. It looked like the accuracy was back, in terms of passing at least.

An aimless clearance from Russell allowed England their first attacking spell but furious Scottish defence led by Ryan Wilson and Hamish Watson targeting the breakdown won the penalty, then – wait for it – Stuart Hogg kicked to touch and set Scotland up with a strong attacking platform. It fizzled out when Barclay was pinged for holding on and Watson gave away the first kickable penalty for a breakdown offence minutes later to even things up at 3-3 but Scotland, at least, did not look overawed.

The first try was just reward for Scotland’s play and looked like it would be a TMO special, Nigel Owens bumping Sean Maitland and causing no small amount of confusion but when it was deciphered in the replay it was actually pretty simple. Taking advantage of the chaos (England’s sliding defenders didn’t look too put off by Owens’ positioning), Finn Russell jinked a grubber through. It bounced forward off the knee of Huw Jones who then snatched the ball up to dive over for the latest in an impressive number of international tries (9 at that point) for the centre.

Scotland played a smart territorial game in the opening half, playing most of the game (fielding Owen Farrells’s booming kicks aside) in the English half.

There weren’t too many chances for England to try out their new Georgian scrum tricks until the second quarter of the match, but Scotland held solid under close scrutiny from Owens. The England defence around the ruck was also very solid: a series of drives by Scotland inside the 22 were punished by bruising tackles until Hamish Watson spilled the ball in contact. Dan Cole eventually ground a penalty from Gordy Reid and the pressure Scotland had been applying was released for the visitors.

Another scrum to England gave them a good platform, but John Barclay won an excellent turnover at the breakdown, Scotland went quickly and it looked like they had made a guddle of it. Then Finn threw one of those suicidal genius passes that Joseph nearly snaffled but instead found Huw Jones at full tilt. The centre couldn’t quite outstrip Jonny May but the ball was quickly recycled left and Finn floated another pass over the defence into the arms of Sean Maitland to touch down in the corner. Greig missed the conversion from out wide but at 13-6 after half an hour it was a better start than we could have hoped.

The momentum was with Scotland but they had to capitalise while they could, as England would surely not be as ineffective and Owens as charitable as he had been to that point.

Could they?

Huw Jones showed his eye for a gap with a superb solo try, a nicely weighted pass putting him into a hole before battling through the tackles of Anthony Watson and Mike Brown for Scotland’s third try. Greig conjured up some keep ball to run down the clock and send the home side in ahead.

Half-time: Scotland 22-6 England

England came out looking like they were going to try and sort the basics and it wasn’t long before Owen Farrell got their side of the scoreboard ticking over, finding himself opposite Grant Gilchrist in the Scotland 22 and cutting a nice line to dive over for the try, which he then converted. It wasn’t the most comfortable cushion were sitting on, and Danny Care thought he was away for an interception try until Owens called them back when Joe Launchbury went off his feet at the breakdown.

Hogg forced the long range penalty right of the posts and England would not have sensed any loss in the momentum they had eked out of this game. The chariot was not motoring but it least it had the wheels on.

The next penalty at about the same position went to the corner but as you’d expect, Scotland didn’t get much change out of the maul and couldn’t break through a physical defensive line. Courtney Lawes knocked the ball forward out of the hitherto monumental John Barclay’s hands but it looked for all the world like another Farrell try after Watson had kicked it nicely past Hogg for him. Nigel had spotted it though and the TMO duly overturned it to the delight of the BT Murrayfield faithful.

Hogg and Maitland almost combined to create a try in about 5 inches of space but Maitland’s foot was scraped into touch by Mike Brown. At least it kept the game down in the English half which was exactly where Scotland wanted it.

England were making too many mistakes against a fired up Scotland team who made far fewer and were in the right positions on the pitch to get away with it.

Great teams make their own luck, but England will probably feel very unlucky on the strength of this performance. Scotland on the other hand would have felt very much in control and that was reflected in the way the backline was clicking in the same way it did against New Zealand in the autumn. From Russell to Hogg via Horne and Jones, they were playing heads up and with confidence in a way they hadn’t done yet in this tournament.

But that cushion of 9 points wasn’t comfortable, even as England kept giving them gifts. After a strong performance, Tommy Seymour limped off to give Blair Kinghorn fifteen minutes for a first cap. What a cauldron to enter.

Sam Underhill certainly didn’t handle it, putting in a no arms tackle on Jamie Bhatti which ended in a painful clash of shoulders and a yellow card for Underhill. With Laidlaw off, Russell slotted the penalty to make it 25-13.

England had as many points as there were minutes remaining and Scotland had to face down Eddie’s finishers and take the win that should have been theirs.

With Nowell on for Mike Brown, England’s backs looked livelier but Watson and Barclay were as tenacious over the ball as they had been all match. England broke into the 22 but again the whistle went and again the arm went up in Scotland’s favour. English referee Dave Pearson consults with Scotland on refereeing matters and they sent the team out perfectly prepared to play things in a way Nigel would see the good in.

With ten minutes to go, the crowd were in full, raucous voice and Scotland, with Nel on from the bench, Scotland won a scrum penalty. Finally, they started to believe, which perhaps suggests how many times we’ve been here before. There might have been whispers of a try bonus but England’s defence was a lot wiser in the second half and closing out the win was huge – especially without Greig on the park by that point.

Finally playing something resembling decent rugby, England threw everything they had at Scotland but they couldn’t kick it. Scotland were defending for their lives in their own half and Jack Nowell found a lot more half gaps than his team mates had in the first half.

By the time Stuart McInally clamped himself on to the ball in the shadow of the posts and won a penalty, that cushion finally felt comfortable.

England attacked, and attacked. But you know what Eddie? The darlings could only go sideways.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

SRBlog Man of the Match: This was a match with several top drawer performances, not least Finn Russell and captain John Barclay. Huw Jones took the plaudits with two stunning tries but for me his centre partner Pete Horne epitomised the effort required to win a test match at this level. Carried hard and tackled everything he was asked to, and was out on his feet by the end. If the team put in this effort and attitude every game, they will always have support.

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146 comments on “6 Nations 2018: Scotland 25-13 England

    • Billy greenhorn on

      A well deserved victory even though guscott and inverdale greeting about disallowed try’s after game rather than Scotland win which actually made it sweeter.

      • Billy greenhorn on

        Gilchrist had a brilliant 55 min but maybe should have been subbed 5min sooner as he was exhausted but we got away with it.

      • Jock Strap on

        Oh they will also be making a noise about the argy bargy in the tunnel after the warm up.
        Eddie Jones was white as an England shirt.

  1. Big Al on

    Bloody fantastic! Based on that performance how many of the English starters or finishers would make the Scotland team!

  2. Frozen North on

    So proud, so many contenders for MOTM but Hugh Jones…I think his try despite all the odds was pure lightning for the team.

    • Finn Andrews on

      Barclay also played a blinder for me at least 8.5/10, he done the basics very well (partciurally jackling at the breakdown)

  3. CSC on

    Well done Scotland. Shrewd tactics and tenacious performances. But I still think some of the first receivers are too ponderous. Getting the ball half a second before the rush defence, will not win against Ireland, who were vulnerable out wide today. Still, a good win.

    • RuggersB on

      I think no team can expect to dominate a match at this level of rugby. Its about absorbing the momentum swings and conceding the least possible points and then being clinical when you have momentum….which we …for the most part..did.

    • May Sinclair on

      Half a second but to a Scotland player and no hospital passes. Lead secured at end of first half by secured ball. A controlled game with lots of flair.

  4. pragmatic optomist on

    Great performance by the pack. Scrum was rock solid, line-out held up well, and the back row were immense. It’s a lovely thing to say that the only real error I remember was Horne playing a pass too late and butchering a try. As it didn’t affect the result I’ll say nowt. Not a single knock -on in the whole game. Must be a first for Scotland.
    Last thing. The pass from Russell out wide putting Jones in space. Wow. That was so long and risky, so credit to him as he had the ‘cojones’ to do it.

    • Referendum on

      Laidlaw knocked on as a foot moved as he picked up. One knock is very much acceptable

      And that butchered try could cost us the championship. If u look at the table we could win both matches with bonus points and still come second. Would in one way be great to come second but to miss out so narrowly would be awful too.

    • Alanyst on


      I think this escaped my mouth on THAT pass….brilliance and stupidity separated by millimetres.

  5. Neil on

    Great first half with perfect execution technique and mindset.
    2nd half lots of passion but we lost that 2nd half and Scotland went into their shell abit.
    I wonder how important that butchered pass by Horne will be at the end of the championship if we somehow beat Ireland and its all to play for on the last day.

    Standouts for me are Mcinally/Berghan/Barclay/Russell/Horne and Jones 8.5s minimum for me.
    Everyone else played very well also and would be around a 7 to 8.

    Team performance was a 9, we can still step it up a little from that which is brilliant.

  6. RuggersB on

    Difficult to pick standouts..because I thought it was an outstanding team performance. H Jones would be on every national team sheet.
    The biggest surprises for me were Horne, Gilchrist, Wilson, Barclay. Selection fully justified.
    The best thing, for me anyway, is that we made some mistakes and I feel we can play better.
    England were made to look pretty clueless in attack and too predictable. They are not NZ yet. In fact I think teams are figuring them out…Wales were mighty close last week.
    The breakdown was a landslide.
    Our scrummaging was top class. Front row has gone from a weakness to looking top drawer amazing depth we will have with everyone fit. Who would have thought going into 6 N…Berghan, McInally & Reid…they actually look formidable. I don’t see how we can drop Berghan…he’s played himself into the spot.
    Forwards went toe to toe.
    We look like we won’t be beaten on fitness.
    We kept trying to play proper rugby in a style that suits us.

    Some things never change….defeat immediately followed by moaning about the if and but of the refereeing.
    England were constantly offside the whole game as they have been in the previous games….GT was right to call them out on it prior to the match.

    GT should take a bow…we are improving under his coaching. As he said post match …the pepsi challenge for us is now bringing that intensity away from home.

  7. Mikelinds on

    First half was as good as I think I can remember, must rate with the epic showing in Paris in 99.

    Huge plaudits to everyone.

  8. Neil on

    How good was Grigg’s carry by the way ! takes on 4 english defenders and then gets up and takes another 3.

    Also the scrum is looking a real strength now conceding 40 kilos and still holding our own if not having a very slight edge. Driving Maul also. Class.

    • James on

      Grigg carried well but did tend to fly out in defence and leave gaps, is that because he’s a 13 trying the wrap defence or just too keen for the big hit?

    • Stouff on

      Our maul defence has become superb. Only a couple of seasons ago you knew conceding a lineout in our 22 was almost a certain 7 point deficit. I thought Stuart McInally was utterly superb today. Think we’vw Finally found a top drawer replacement for Fordy!!

  9. Andrew on

    Stonking result… from 1 to 15…incredible team effort. Thought Sean Maitland was superb as he played with a Hunger and level of urgency i had not witnessed before. Took his try really well and hopefully will have silenced some of his critics.
    Huw Jones is a talisman…what else can you say…that game will leave Large smile on scots for years to come….

  10. NinjaBill on

    Pure Bouncing. Every player to a man gave the full 100% and let no one down. My main plaudits have to go to the back row – Watson and Wilson were horrible bastards throughout and Barclay answered the questions of the last two tests with style. Rambo equally so, to make that turnover after giving his all for 77mins say everything about his commitment and ability. Winning a scrum penalty was the cherry on the cake.

    Also am I right that we gave away only a single penalty in the whole game? Immense.

    Speaking of England – that was coming (and I delighted it was Scotland who brought it). They’ve scraped through so many games by being clinical but unremarkable. Sadly one of the few they really turned up for was last year’s collapse.

    Now for the last monkey on our back… that elusive away win.

  11. NinjaBill on

    Also not quite sure what the Georgians did to England during their training session last week but I think we owe them a crate of whisky or two.

    • RuggersB on

      Maybe they should practice against a better team next time…either that or gather an ‘inside scoop’ from better than an average football coach.

  12. john on

    Agree Andrew…………Maitland played his best game for Scotland.

    England are strong, physical, well coached (not today) but little rugby instinct in their squad

    Incredible to think Dunbar, Taylor, Bennett, Hardie, R.Gray, Brown, Marfo all must be close to the match day 23……Sam Johnson must qualify soon too

  13. Referendum on

    Our very own Flying Dutchman should be all set for a five try haul in the last two matches now with Seymour struggling.

    Delighted to See Hogg do the kicking. Doesn’t detract from Russell only helps.

  14. The Chiel on

    Wonderful stuff – floating on a cloud of cold gassy lager in Fuerteventura.
    Disagree with Rory’s MoM – Barclay all day long for me. Critical turnovers at critical times. Thought Horne played well, but utterly butchered the move that would have given us the breathing space we needed.

    But in the end – who cares ! :)

    • JohnMc on

      Ha ha! What a win. Switched on the iPhone on touchdown in Lanzarote and the first text I saw was from a stunned English pal telling me Scotland were 22-6 up at half time! Looking forward to playing the recording when I’m back home.
      Deep joy!

  15. 1.8T on

    Just beautiful. Inverdale and Guscots whining made it all the sweeter! I’m too overcome with joy to make a sensible comment but I will say, for the pelters Russell and Barclay have gotten for the last couple of weeks they were both absolutely outstanding today.

  16. Blake Westwood on

    Dear fellow Scotland fans who called for Gregor Townsend’s and Finn Russell’s head this victory is not for you it is for the players and real Scotland fans like myself.

    • JohnMc on

      Blake, you really ought to wind it in a bit, mate. Weren’t you the one damning Maitland as one of Scotland’s worst ever players a day or so ago?

    • Bazz on

      Short memory aye blake?

      Blake Westwood on February 11th, 2018 – 7:43pm

      I’d go with this for England;

      1. Bhatti
      2. McInally
      3. Berghan
      4. Gilchrist
      5. J.Gray
      6. Wilson
      7. Watson
      8. Denton
      9. Price
      10. Laidlaw
      11. Seymour
      12. Dunbar/Taylor (If neither are fit Horne keeps his place)
      13. Huw Jones
      14. Maitland
      15. Hogg

  17. Hugh Edwards on

    If we can perform like that again I think we’ll blow Italy away and certainly give Ireland a good run! That for me would be a positive 6N!

  18. Big Al on

    Jones was very impressive today. We knew he was a big game player. He’s just a world class attacker running gorgeous powerful lines at high speed with great anticipation. Today though his tackling and defence was very good too. Of the three quarters I think he had the most tackles completed. So a very good all round performance and completely out shone his opposite number.

  19. TeamCam on

    Absolutely eating my words about the back row, and they taste delicious. Great performance.

    If you want a laugh, go and read The Guardian’s player ratings – mainly 6s and 7s! Hilarious.

      • Fraser on

        Wow, that’s appalling. Although the comments don’t really match the given scores. Only Russell worthy of an 8…..

    • Old General on

      The Guardian is a bastion of investigative journalism and gets my support for that.

      But its rugby coverage is “single fish”, and its Scottish rugby coverage is beyond awful-they seem to take AP releases and, other than changing a few names so they’re wrong, publish them “as is”.

    • rs on

      Glad someone mentioned the Guardian! Really does my head in. For a quality newspaper their rugby coverage is almost comically myopic. Are there really so few folk outside of England reading it? I stopped reading last year after the weekend when all the pro12 teams won their European pool games and their main article was about some kid who’d done well to get into the Sarries first team or something along those lines.

  20. Blake Westwood on

    Huw Jones is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best centers in the world. Now has 10 international tries (4 against England, 3 against Australia and 1 against NZ, Samoa and France) from just 14 matches. Only 7 behind Hogg despite having played 45 less matches than him – no disrespect to Hogg who is also fantastic try-scorer but this shows just what a prolific try scorer Huw Jones is. Will surely go down as our highest try scorer of all time.

    • Big Al on

      You’re right if Jones keeps his form and fitness he will get a bucket load of tries for Scotland over the next few years.

      As for Hogg I think its ability to bring his teammates into the game that really stands out along with his ability to manipulate defences and create space for others. I think it helps the others that he’s no longer trying to do it all himself. First name on the teamsheet if he’s fit.

      • Blake Westwood on

        Big Al He sure will. By the way wy comment was in anyway a dig at Hogg who is in my opinion the best full back in the world and is such an amazing player was just using that stat comparison to show what an incredible try scorer Huw Jones is

      • Bulldog on

        Al : Great comment reference Hogg no longer trying to do it all himself, that is a real insight, totally agree so much more inclusive today and we were all dangerous.

        Just need to tweak the chip and chase , especially from outside our own 22 however we had momentum all day long.

        Great day for scottish rugby people everywhere.

  21. CC on

    Very unrelated but just read in the NZ Herald that Blade Thompson (27 year old, lock/back rower, ‘fringe all-black’) is set to sign for the Scarlet’s and qualifies for Scotland through grandparents. From what I’ve seen from him he looks an incredible athlete and astute off-loader. We lack an athletic second rower which is what he is.

    • Pirate4 on

      Grab him with both hands and whatever else it takes. Strong Super Rugby player, good carrier and would definitely be an asset.

  22. Scrummo on

    Favourite moment for me was Wilson utterly smashing Launchbury while he was dozing at a ruck! We knew the backs were quality but with all the injuries up front it’s great to see guys like Berghan stepping up and looking class and I wouldn’t swap McInally for anyone right now.

  23. Blake Westwood on

    Can’t believe “fans” were calling for Townsend’s head after 1 defeat. This is a man who with Scotland has beaten Australia home and away, came within 5 points of beating NZ and got us playing the best rugby we have ever played and led Glasgow to the latter stages of the European Cup as well as making them the 1st Scottish Pro14 champs. Some fans are just so disloyal and should be eating humble pie.

  24. Blake Westwood on

    Can we get away from this idea that Townsend is riding on the success of Cotter when if anything it’s the other way around. Reid(2010-17), Dunbar, Seymour, Bennett, Hogg, Russell, Strauss(2012-17), Maitland (2012-15) and Price all of whom were contracted Glasgow players coached, trained and developed by Townsend on a weekly basis were all mainstays of Cotter’s Scotland team.

  25. Jamie on

    From an Edinburgh perspective, Berghan has turned into a superb tighthead. Certainly one of those players who becomes far better once exposed to test rugby.

    • Scrummo on

      I think he’s been coming on strongly over the last season and a half and added much more to his game after initially looking like a lump at scrum time and not much else. The last couple of games though he’s taken it up another notch and like you say looks a genuine test level player. Onus will be on Nel and Fagerson to reclaim the shirt as I think Berghan is deservedly the man in possession and should stay there. With Nel, Berghan and McCallum I think Edinburgh will have a very, very solid choice of tightheads there and McCallum will go well with the other pair to learn from and with Cocker’s influence.

      • iMan4D on

        He’s been a revelation, totally relishing his opportunity. Can’t believe the competition we now have at tight head, all capable of locking a scrum and DOING REALLY NAUGHTY THINGS up the opposition in attack. Bleedin’ marvellous innit?
        Depth is really looking evident, didn’t think we had a chance this 6N without one of Dunbar/Taylor.
        Been advising of New Golden Age for years, think we’re on it.
        Massive congratulations to all involved, we’ve reinstalled Scottish Rugby as a genuine force, can’t get enough of it!

        [Edited for language]

  26. Saltire62 on

    Well heart rate just about back to normal!! Very proud of all the guys today in what was an outstanding team effort. So many great performances and difficult to know where to start tbh but Barclay, Maitland and Russell made a lot of people eat humble pie.
    Agree with previous comments that that was probably Maitland’s best game for Scotland; not a flashy player but reads the game well and very rarely makes a mistake. Our scrum didn’t give an inch and and given our supposed front row woes Berghan and big Gordy gave their all and as for Stuart Mcinally to play the whole game for the second week in a row and still have the strength to win a breakdown penalty in the shadow of his own posts with a couple of minutes to go – absolutely awesome!
    My MOM though was Huw Jones -such a deceptively strong runner – shaping up to be the next BOD
    Off to Dublin in a couple of weeks – bring it on!

  27. Ben F on

    Has anyone sighted Eddie Jones !! I popped by the Sherton Grand and asked the consierge to make sure his room windows were locked. No way he is escaping post match Sunday.

    Apparently he got back to the hotel wearing a Dougie Donnelly mask. #whereinthegrassmarketdidhego

  28. Little White Flower on

    As a Scottish rugby wife and mum..It made me really happy today to see our boys play so well.
    Too many times have our expectations been set so high only to have them dashed time and time again.Luck is not normally on our side, so we battle on.But today was a new awakening and our play was fast, professional but also very hard and brutal.
    Although our lads will be sore tomorrow,they should feel nothing other than pride in themselves. They all worked together and conquered the “Auld Enemy.” What more can we ask of them? More of the same I think…Well done boys,you’ve made us all feel happy and proud. Long may you prevail.

  29. Andrew McGavin on

    I leapt so high when Maitland scored that I literally broke our sofa when I landed! Makes a pleasant change from hiding behind it in previous CC matches.

    • Neilb on

      I would think we leapfrog Wales into 6th but it’s very close. I still don’t quite understand the points system, because this was at home we get less, that’s all I know! If we beat Ireland next week we’ll definitely be 6th (how SA are still 5th is beyond me!)

    • Ross on

      We are back up into 5th with that result, half a point above RSA. Points system is based on fairly complex maths to do with the difference in rankings, who is at home, whether it’s a RWC match and whether you win by 15 points or more. Best way to check is to google ‘rugby world rankings calculator’ and then click the github link. They put in updated scores and you can play about with scenarios if you want.

      P.S. A win against Ireland of any nature would put us third. THIRD!

  30. ID nightly on

    Provisionally back above Wales and South Africa in the rankings based on https://rawling.github.io/wr-calc/

    The bonus point would have been nice but in some ways the maturity of the defensive display in the second half is even more satisfying. Truly spectacular performance, same again needed to be in with a chance of the
    win in Dublin though

  31. NM on

    Job done! Good performance, good team, good management, good leadership, good bench and LOUD support throughout. An excellent day at Murrayfield. A ten year wait but it was worth it. Roll on Ireland.

  32. Referendum on

    Something to take note is the lack of injuries and people who are close to being back. After having huge issues in this area through championships recently we have to say we’ve been very fortunate this time. Even McGuigan going out clearly helped. We needed experience and had he been fit might have been an issue.

    Anyone able to analyse Seymour till he went off ? He could probably do with a rest although he was walking at end I thought he took a real sore one.

    Felt for Lawson for first time he’ll now miss out on getting to fifty caps. Would have been nice for him to have got on and feel part of the win.

    • Blake Westwood on

      “Felt for Lawson for first time he’ll now miss out on getting to fifty caps. Would have been nice for him to have got on and feel part of the win.”

      Did you want England to win could easily see him being the cause of two quick England tries. Should players just get on the pitch because they are nice guy or a good servant. Caps must be won and McInally’s turnover in the 78th minute won us that game if Lawson was on the pitch he would have probably gave away a penalty try and been yellow carded

  33. Neil on

    The exciting thing is R.Gray/Dunbar/Brown/Fagerson/Visser and Strauss have a good chance of being available for the 23 for the next 2 games also. I would stick with our Current 15 but that will help the bench alot.

    Far bigger challenge which is the crazy thing in 2 weeks time in Dublin we will need just as good a performance to have even a shot.

    • RuggersB on

      Gray, Dunbar and Brown would be good bench additions, IF they are all 100% fit and ready to go.
      Fagerson needs to wait for his chance again…Berghan has played better than Fagerson did prior to injury. Nel also did well when he came on. Id keep Kinghorn and Denton ahead of Visser and Strauss.

  34. Alanyst on

    Pseudo 5 nations table:

    Ireland 8pts +12pd
    Scotland 5.33 pts -6pd
    England 4 pts -6pd
    Wales 2.67 pts +7pd
    France 0 pts -8pd

    So, in this false reality, we are in 2nd as it stands.

  35. James on

    Excellent win but let’s not be getting ahead of ourselves about championships or wins in Dublin, that’s really not gone well for us in the past!

    I’d rather we went for quiet confidence, kept our own council on what may happen, and then go out and blitz the Irish in Dublin!

    Watching the Ireland game this morning, if interested hadn’t been for Glen Jackson I think Wales may have won that. Although Wales were offside at pretty much every breakdown and rarely got pinged.

    It’s going to be all about intensity in defence and at the breakdown.

    • Ginger McGhee on

      Just play your games one at a time. We killed their slam last year so they have the motivation to shove us back to the ferry.

  36. Parkee on

    Echo the sentiments above about effort and determination. Rewatched the game this morning and few subtle things stood out.
    Line out Mall defence was outstanding. Really mixed up the strategy and England never settled and resorted to going off the top later in the game. Great Coaching from Scotland.

    Attacking structure was disciplined but varied. Big ball carriers being brought in to the game. Didn’t always make yards but occupied defenders and kept England’s defence unsettled. Freed up the pitch for Finns flair and created the canvas for the artist to paint those magical pictures. Everything that was missing in wales.

    How easily Scotland got under England’s skin. Lots of poor discipline from England but Scotland didn’t get overly involved. Not sure if this had anything to do with the tunnel fracas but in that pressure the boys kept their heads. Outstanding.

    Ireland in Dublin is a stearner test. They are not infallible but some of their attack really sparked yesterday. Scotland defence will need all the resilience shown yesterday and attack will need to remain clinical.

    Getting a grip of our away demons is the last step for this team to reach the very top.

    Well played and good luck in Dublin.

  37. Warks Scot on

    Wow, will really have to rewatch to get the finer details but Scotland delivered a big can of whoop-ass! However, some more general points:
    England were poor and will be disappointed but a huge part of that was the Scottish pack really getting in their faces. Hopefully, we can bury this “size is all important” thing – the English pack were an average of 5.5kg heavier (around 3/4 stone in old money) and yet were virtually anonymous for the first 40 mins and largely contained in the second half. Had never been a big fan of Wilson in the past but now see what those with better knowledge and judgement had seen in him a while back. Just ferocious but now with a control dial too.
    The front row has been a revelation – I always thought Bhatti was a bit flaky at scrum time but been proved wrong, same regards Berghan. Would love to know who has been working on their technique recently.
    Rambo is awesome, best hooker in NH at the moment. However the fact that he’s constantly playing the full 80 mins shows we desperately need another world class 2, preferably 2 x 2! Turner needs to improve his scrummaging but looks like he should have plenty of tutors now from the rest of the front row.
    We defended well without Dunbar’s formidable presence, great work by Peter Horne and Jones too, not to mention the pack who absorbed the inevitable English onslaught in the 2nd half. We were also very clinical at finishing without having to rely on Hoggy to produce some magic and that was also proved in the Aussie game.
    So we now have 23 players gelling as a team, playing with intelligence, aggression and precision, hats off to you all and the coaching team too. If only things had been like that in Cardiff but then again, maybe that’s why the performance yesterday was so good. Need to maintain the high standards if we’ve to have any chance in Dublin but feels so good to have the bragging rights over the Auld Enemy at last!

  38. David McIntosh on

    Goddammit I enjoyed that. After so many years of watching a Scotland who played like the had no belief in their ability to unlock defences, those 15 first half minutes were especially sweet. Of course they’ve been doing it for a while now, but those scars run deep.

    Scotland coped fantastically with England defensively; was anyone else surprised by how lacking in imagination England were with the ball? 4 clean breaks in the entire game. Huw Jones managed that by himself – and he only carried 4 times. Incredible.

    I said last week that nothing less than a 9/10 Finn would be enough to win, and we got that for sure (regardless of what the Guardian might think).

    The scrum has been the consistent surprise of the tournament for me. Even in the Welsh game, where everything else went horribly wrong, we seemed to have close to parity. For years the Scottish scrum was a penalty waiting to happen, so a solid platform is a huge improvement.

    Negatives – bit of a shame Horne butchered that chance in the second half- a BP would have been so sweet and would have killed the game a lot earlier. Tactically I’d have liked to have seen Denton a little earlier when the starters were clearly struggling to break the gain-line. But I’m reaching.

    To me Ireland are the best team in the NH at the moment, regardless of what the world rankings might say. Several world class talents, great strength in depth, and crucially a domestic structure geared around the international set-up. Ireland have a lot more variety and intelligence in their back-line and pack, and they know how to contest a breakdown. I still don’t really see us winning that if Ireland play close to their best, but they haven’t done that consistently of late so there is a puncher’s chance at least.

    Happy days.

    • RuggersB on

      Ireland are a very good team. However I think saying just playing close to their best will beat Scotland …is underestimating Scotland.

      With both playing their best it’ll be a close match…home advantage will probably sway it for Ireland…but if Scotland can get their head around the ‘away’ match…reproduce the intensity and improve their attack a little more, which I think they can, they can win.

      I think it’ll depend which ‘Scotland’ turn up more so than which ‘Ireland’.

  39. Vince on

    Englishman here – well done, Scotland.

    One player that has really caught my attention – Huw Jones, a terrific centre.
    His 2nd try was a thing of beauty.
    Identified the gap and ran into it (and great timing of the pass by his team mate).
    Then Jones’ speed, followed by excellent technique to hand off Watson and cradle the ball as Brown went to dislodge it.
    Then Jones pumped his legs to get over the line.

    And McNally caught my eye, too – tremendous work over the tackle, like an additional flanker. For all that Scotland did in attack (and it was a lot) I think their breakdown play was the critical factor. Each time England went forward and were tackled, there was a high likelihood they’d either have the ball stolen or get pinged for holding on; they were taken to the cleaners at the breakdowns.

  40. Frazer on

    I’ve finally come down after the euphoria of Saturday and have come up with a few points:

    1) Our front row was predicted to be a weakness but it’s been immense, if only Gordy Reid was a bit better in the loose.
    2) McInally had a poor game against Wales (didn’t everyone?) but against England he was positively Dane Coles-esque! It helps that he’s a converted flanker but he’s a beast at the breakdown and in the loose.
    3) Russell is as predictable as our weather! After having a pair of iffy games he absolutely dominated Ford and “that” pass was sublime! More of the same against Ireland please.
    4) Hogg is being watched like a hawk by defences, but it’s leaving space for others to exploit – go Huw Jones!!
    5) Having a pair of effective jackallers in our back row is perfectly suited to our style of play and England had no answer. Ireland’s back row is similar to England’s but they will be wise to this.
    6) Jonny Gray missed a tackle!!!!!!!

    In all it was a great game to watch, and normally once it gets to the last 5 minutes and it’s close I’m a nervous wreck, but it looked to me that the game could have gone another 50 minutes and England wouldn’t have scored a try.

    • TeamCam on

      I thought McInally was one of the few players who did OK in the Wales game. Can’t wait to see the look of relief at McInally going off replaced by a look of resignation as Brown comes on and picks up exactly where Rambo left off!

  41. Sheriff McBain on

    Eddie Jones got England back to training today and after the warm up he asked the squad to take up their normal positions. In response every one of them lined up behind their own try line under the posts. Ha Ha

  42. rs on

    Glad someone mentioned the Guardian! Really does my head in. For a quality newspaper their rugby coverage is almost comically myopic. Are there really so few folk outside of England reading it? I stopped reading last year after the weekend when all the pro12 teams won their European pool games and their main article was about some kid who’d done well to get into the Sarries first team or something along those lines.

  43. Rosco on

    Disappointed to read that Eddie Jones got rough treatment when taking a train journey from Edinburgh to Manchester. It’s only a game and his antics are all part of his wind up tactics which although not gentlemanly they add some flare to occasions. Found the crowd booing distasteful also when he was being interviewed after the match. Made us look more unsportsmanlike that Eddie. It’s a rivalry v England but one that some sorry people take too far.

    • Feepole on

      Totally agree Rosco. More of us need to speak out against this nonsense. Really does us no credit (as a footnote I’ve always hated relaying the interviews through the stadium.)

    • TeamCam on

      If true, poor behaviour from the “fans” involved, although he doesn’t state what nationality they were. If he didn’t want to make a big deal of it, why did he tell the media? And bellyaching about people talking smack is a bit rich coming from him… also interesting to note all the xenophobic and prejudiced comments about Scots in the forums and comments sections decrying xenophobia, ironically. Nobody comes out of his story with credit and it makes rugby look as bad as football. Worse if you consider how derisive sone rugby fans are towards football fans. Hopefully EJ’s learned some lessons.

      • TeamCam on

        Just seen the video on Twitter. What a bunch of… well, I don’t want to breach the comment policy, but it’s shoddy behaviour to say the least. Embarrassing, unnecessary and stupid. And he’s practically a pensioner…

    • Matto on

      Didn’t want this to be my first comment following such a momentous win, but I’m only halfway through the podcast and this story has emerged.
      I also found the booing in the post-match interview out of order. I appreciate that there is a lot of bottled up emotion, but you can’t really beat being gracious in victory and defeat. It adds to the experience whereas the booing lowers it. Not wishing to be sanctimonious or prudish there. On the other hand, the troll who was on our row and who’s opening salvo was “get into the English c~~~s” with a young family sitting directly in front of him was out of order. And his post-match “back to Thailand you Chinese-eyed ~~~~” was just totally not cool. It’s not something I have experienced at other Scotland matches (I go to all the home games) or even other Calcutta Cup games. Apart maybe from one visit to Twickenham.
      I know Eddie Jones is a wind up, but to be honest, his comments about Scotland have been fairly mild, and he was a lot more gracious in his post-match interview than a number of other coaches would have been. Gentle ribbing and banter is all good, mutual respect should be a given. Racism and xenophobia is not on and is a massive detraction. Can you imagine how we would react if it was a Scottish coach (or fans) on the receiving end of this from English fans? Nae class.

      • Billy greenhorn on

        Was at the all blacks game in November and hadn’t been to a game for a good while and was disappointed with some of language and antics of a small minority which to me has no place in rugby.

      • Stu on

        Jones has trolled Scotland since he became Oz coach years ago – there is absolutely nothing mild about his behaviour. He doesn’t deserve abuse but I think people are getting a little carried away.

      • Matto on

        I don’t think we should define our own standards by Eddie Jones, or anyone else for that matter. Strong offensive language around kids, xenophobic swearing in a mixed crowd, and outright racism were all things I experienced at Murrayfield on Saturday. Personally I think it’s out of order, shameful and embarrassing. I also do feel that we have a collective responsibility. We are all Scotland rugby fans and our attitudes to the behaviour of the few does to some extent define us collectively. It is also possible to express ourselves without being offensive and to retort to the wind-ups and mouthing off with mutual sending up and banter, as Rory et al did on the most recent blog.

  44. Rosco on

    Just saw footage of him getting in a taxi and over friendly Scots behaving like many sad Scots do. Most likely one incident out of many. Put shame on our nation. Sterilisation required.

  45. Archieb57 on

    Embarrassing & totally unnecessary behaviour really. Although he sometimes is a bit of a pr**k, he doesn’t warrant this treatment. His PR machine is & will have a field day with this. He’s already dragging Gavin Hasting’s & Simon Bergan’s names through the mud. The English press will have a field day unfortunately.

    • RuggersB on

      Jones is a prize mouthy *****….however those ‘fans’ should have been better than that. That part is disappointing.
      Jones & English media etc are looking for every opportunity to discredit Scotland….and this is just feeding them. They never lose with any dignity themselves and so England bring on these type of reactions from people. Also, Jones bleating to the press about essentially another ‘handbags’ situation is perhaps even more antagonistic as it could potential create a difficult situation on a larger scale when the teams and fans meet next time around.

  46. Bulldog on

    I admit that when I first pulled on a jersey, rugby was a game I played before breakfast and going all the way meant staying on the bus till you reached the terminus.

    We learned the first rule which was the ball can only be passed backwards.

    The second rule being always applaud good play , even when it is the opposition.

    Slightly later we learned that it takes two teams to make a game so always respect the opposition even when we win.

    Times have changed , the Scotland v England International has become a shamefull event in the terraces, we want to beat them on the pitch but befriend them off the pitch.

    The England v Scotland game by contrast is pleasant, there is the odd home counties stockbroker who is dismissive but most of the crowd welcome you and thank you for travelling to the game.

    In my experience , the English love us, not as a side to beat but as people they respect and like. They are a bit envious of our cultural identity. Afterwards I have experienced their warmest hospitality.

    At one time I thought it was cash and sponsorship, new money, old tribal grudges and that might be true, but as a nation , we need to learn the true meaning of pride and even without rugby wins, we have so much to be proud about. I see no need to soil our own beds.

    Perhaps the subject of a Blog debate !!!

    • Feepole on

      Well said BD! (Apparently that’s too short a reply. Won’t let me post. So, have a ‘Hear, hear!’ to boot)

      • Stu on

        I gave you a reason – I said you were trolling. The extrapolation of a single personal incident into collective responsibility of a nation is much beloved by trolls.

      • Bulldog on

        Stu : as your alter egos well know , I am no troll and take no offense.

        Perhaps I just have a different level of dignity and respect, we all have choices you know !

        On that point you know the posting guidelines, you have used them often enough, so stick to them. If you dont agree with the post say so but give a reason.

    • RuggersB on

      As said…nice troll Eddie J.

      The press follow Jones like a fart on an elevator. He constantly feeds them with his own brand of verbal diarrhea.

      Apparently its ok for his his own players to reference ‘hate’ before anyone else did…Joe Marler vs wales. Didn’t hear any noise from Eddie or English media in regards to his comments!

      • Bulldog on

        RuggersB: At least you have given a reason for being derogatory , however it is an response to a point that I never made. Same response as above.

      • Stu on

        Spot on RuggersB – also for Jones to infer that Hastings and Berghan’s pre match comments might responsible is disgraceful and the RFU need to have a word with him about that.

      • RuggersB on

        To answer the points you made ..I would counter, with it being, in my opinion, an overly generalistic view of a country with the same or similar societal issues as Scotland. I’ve travelled to England enough to see the very same mixed responses . People are people….there is good and bad everywhere. There is no need to adopt a condescending/self righteous approach on a scottish rugby opinion blog site.

      • Bulldog on

        Ruggers B , You should have said that the first time instead of being firstly offensive and then posting a response to a point I did not make.

        I am sure everyone welcomes your opinion however the offensive tone and personal attack is not necessary.

        As for me , I am just telling you my experience , folks will make their mind up.

  47. Rosco on

    Agree Bulldog.

    The behaviour of the guys verbally abusing Eddie is awful but does represent problems within our society that is beyond sport.

    Regarding the booing it would be good to see the SRU encourage sportsmanship and discourage booing for kicks etc.

    • Rory Baldwin on

      They do discourage booing the kicker, and actually most of the crowd stays quiet for a reasonable period of time when kickers first set up. But when the kickers take an interminable age to actually hoof the thing and are just standing there wiggling or doing the shifty-eyed dog from the Simpsons, then you hear the noise start. I’m not saying it is perfect and respectful, but it isn’t as bad as it seems.

      • Rob on

        Agreed and the idiots outside of Manchester Station were fully caught on camera! Was he also abused on the trip from Manchester to London after the Man Utd game?

    • csc on

      There should be no place for boorish behaviour in either defeat or victory. The fans who indulge in such behaviour need to ditch their ‘chippy’ attitudes and go for the moral high ground, whatever the outcome of the game. Also – it can really annoy the opposition!

  48. Grum on

    Could one of the posters with a flair for stats compare the coverage of Jones’ travails with other ‘rugby’ issues on BBC Sports pages ?( I lost count).

    • Bulldog on

      I am not sure I fully understand the question however England have close to 1809 registered clubs and 1.9m registered players. (Fact)

      I suspect any England Head Coach gets a lot of journalist time, Just because England have the biggest volume of players and subsequently supporters.

      England is the largest Rugby community in the UK . We might not like it , but size matters. If we got no cover that is a different question and needs a different answer.

      The good news is , every now and again , we beat them and thankfully most of us Giant killers carry it off with a well balanced measure of dignity and pride.

  49. Bill on

    Have to say I have found the comments re behaviour interesting. Having now lived in the Newcastle upon Tyne area for over 30 years with grown up children who consider themselves English (much to my Disaapointment) whenever we visited their Grandmother in Glasgow as youngsters I had to make sure they left their English rugby tops at home. On the day of the Calcutta cup we stayed in Glasgow, I wore my Scotland top they didn’t wear their English tops. They complained as kids that I wore my Scotland top in England but wouldn’t let them wear their England tops when in Scotland. Always felt the English were more accommodating than us, this is because of history and I believe understandable. I was sitting next to a young lad on Saturday, at the end I said remember this, it does not happen too often. 10 years of pent up frustration doesn’t excuse the worst behaviour mentioned but explains why we are a bit chippy at times. Jones is a clever coach and a wind up merchant so that will attract the worst, though I agree it should not happen.

  50. Scott McScott on

    Having just watched the game again what has struck me is that Scotland made quite a lot of mistakes, fluffed quite a few moves and really left a lot out there.
    It’s really given me confidence that this isn’t a flash in the pan. I don’t want to think it but are we nearly the real deal.

  51. Neil on

    I dont mind abit of swearing etc at a calcutta cup match during the game, i dont think thats disrespectful and i believe its helps build a great atmosphere to show that much passion, i think this goes for the booing also, you want the opposing team to feel as much as possible to be uncomfortable and in a hostile environment when they visit our fortress.

    However the booing after the game and the abuse Eddie Jones got is completely unnecessary and unacceptable that totally destroys the values of our game from my point of view.

    It would also be nice to have a part of the stand where parents and kids can go together to avoid the more sweary parts of the crowd, give the best to both.

    Again beat the hell out of each other and what not during the game, but keep it respectful after.

    • Rob on

      I went to a MSL football game in the USA a couple of years ago and they have family section where there is no swearing etc. In fact, if there is, you call the stewards and they can eject the bad folks ………

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