Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


6 Nations 2021: England 6 – 11 Scotland

England vs Scotland
pic © Scottish Rugby Blog

Pinch me to see how fat I am, because this is clearly a dream. After 38 years of failing to win at Twickenham, a Scotland side who bossed the majority of the game edged to victory to hold the Calcutta Cup for the third time in four years.

Scotland got out of jail somewhat when Ali Price’s attempt to clear at the edge of the 22 was charged down by Maro Itoje, but the Scots won the penalty when Exeter’s Jonny Hill sealed off in support.

Another two quick penalties nearly saw George Turner peel off the back of a maul and get close to the England try-line, but Scotland had to settle for a 3-pointer when Itoje was again penalised, this time for not rolling away.

Another Itoje charge down on Price put the frighteners on Scotland but a loose pass from Ben Youngs bobbled in the Scotland 22 and Cameron Redpath thumped to relative safety off his left boot.

The English penalty count started racking up as an effervescent Scotland looked to play the game at 88.8mph, with Russell shifting the angles of attack through hand and boot.

A wonderfully judged kick to touch from Owen Farrell led to a scary line-out for Scotland, and once again Itoje annoyed Price as he tried to clear and his clearance barely left the 22.

Scott Cummings, who has now become one of the first names on the team-sheet, managed to pinch it, and once again Scotland went on the front foot.

Billy Vunipola went to the sin-bin for being firstly offside and then tackling Finn Russell round the neck because that was the best, and possibly only, way to stop the magician pulling all the rabbits out of the hat.

Duhan van der Merwe went agonisingly close to claiming a Russell cross-kick in the goal area, but it wasn’t long until the monstrous winger did claim his score.

With England down to 14, Russell spread it wide to the left, and despite the attentions of two England defenders, Duhan bounced and rolled his way onto the line for the try Scotland’s dominance deserved.

However, clinical England clawed their way back into the game.

Farrell knocked over a penalty, and as he lined up another pop at goal, TMO Joy Neville called to attention a trip by Russell on Youngs which saw Russell binned for 10mins.  

A highly contentious penalty given against Chris Harris for obstruction afforded England an opportunity to knock it deep and threaten, only for Jonny Gray to leap like a horny salmon and slap the ball away from Itoje’s waiting hands.

Price thumped the ball out to call the half to an end, and Scotland could be pretty pleased with the first 40. Young Redpath in particular was looking pretty sharp on day-boo.

Half-time: England 6 – 8 Scotland

Nervous yet?

A half-break from Hogg taking out two players put Scotland into the England 22 and although there was no points to be claimed on this occasion, by the time Russell was back off the naughty step, he was given a simple kick to extend the lead.

As the clock ticked over 50mins, there looked like only one team who wanted to play some rugby with the confidence to take ball in hand, and it wasn’t the home side.

Scotland were dominant all over the park, whereas England looked scared to have possession, relentlessly and at times aimlessly booting the ball deep to the readily awaiting arms of Stuart Hogg, who was having one of those games where everything he tried went well.

It seems almost mad to think that nothing of note happened to write about for the final quarter, but it was mainly spent with little threat from either side.

If one side did look like adding to the scoreboard, it was Scotland. The kicking game is widely regarded as the main facet of play, and frankly England were very poor at it, whether from the boot of Youngs or Robson at the base of the scrum or Daly booting from deep, they just gave the ball back to an on-fire Hogg, the consistently brilliant Finn Russell, or the solid Matt Fagerson who silenced any remaining doubters with a sterling performance.

Right then folks, away and revel in a historic victory.

SRBlog MOTM: I’ve sometimes wondered if the burden of captaincy has been too much for him to take on, but Stuart Hogg was exceptional today. Didn’t spill a high ball, ran past players for fun and that cannon of a boot was as accurate as it was powerful from hand to keep England pinned back

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)

169 Responses

  1. “sTuArT hOgG iS wEiGhEd dOwN bY tHe cApTaInCY”

    The team was outstanding today there seems to be a real sense of unity and belief in this squad. George Turner was excellent all round and Redpath lived up to the hype.
    I wish Finn had played a bit better and I was sure England were going to steal it right up to the very end but who cares. THE CURSE IS BROKEN!
    I just wish I could get drunk and celebrate with my pals.

    1. He was weighed down by the captaincy, because it was his first season. Now he’s got to grips with it.

  2. Tom Curry, best 7 in the world apparently, let me introduce you to the Mish!

    What a turnover at the end, just about lost my voice screaming at the tv.

    Well played guys.

    1. The media loves to big up Hogg and Russell – and rightly so – but we all know who our best player is.

      Hamish Watson is the best openside flanker in the 6N.
      And I don’t think it’s particularly close.

  3. Really classy by Hogg to let the two new caps pick up the Calcutta Cup. He’s growing as a captain and this group looks like its got a genuine togetherness and belief in each other.

  4. A massive, 38 year-old, gorilla-sized monkey cast off our backs today.

    Magnificent all-round performance. Never let them settle. The energy and will to dominate and relentlessly pursue a win were just a joy to watch. A bruising forward effort in all aspects of forward play was reminiscent of Scotland in the late 80s and early 90s.

    Fantastic midfield defence stood out too.

    There was a boldness there today which was among other things surely attributable to confidence in each other?

    Was it a perfect performance? No it wasn’t, and analysis of things that could have been better can be left to another thread.

    For the time being, I’m going to get royally p*shed and start to hunt down on social media some of this week’s worst England supporting social media trolls.


    1. “A massive, 38 year-old, gorilla-sized monkey”.

      How did you find out John Anderson’s pet-name for me?

  5. FANTASTIC performance. Huge credit to all players and coaches and especially Toony. All his marginal calls paid off in spades; Redpath a revelation, Maitland just class, Turner superb, and Matt F will hopefully have silenced any lingering doubters. Also what a transformation in J Gray, the 2nd row were immense, Hogg also back to his best (keep the normal hair!). All the subs held it together and controlled the game to the finish in a very composed and un-Scottish manner. Wonderful and to think there is so much more to come from Finn. Brilliant. I have the finest malts lined up.

  6. Well done to all the players and coaches, what a magnificent performance. Very unScottish to actually close out the game at the end!

    I look forward to the SRB player ratings!!

  7. Hooray!!! Finally an 80 minute performance at Twickenham. Not perfect, but is it ever?! It’s the score that counts and Scotland finally on the correct side of it :D

    1. Correct however three major ball bounces went our way….we deserved it but they either went our way or they were 7 pointers against us…..both charge downs and the drop goal madness….

      We played the sin bin beautifully…kept the head when under pressure….didn’t compound error upon error losing whole field of territory in short moments….

      Took enough chances and England were never near our line with any pressure….which is an incredible feat….

      One note…we went wide passing through the hands once and scored…do it a bit more especially once hitting it up hard..

  8. Very much a team performance – England’s poor showing entirely down to Scotland dominating the game and controlling the ball. Excellent defence as well forcing them to kick possession away every time.

    Turner had a great game and Jones will be fuming he didn’t cap Redpath last year – both potential Lions bolsters.

    Lion selection well and truly shaken up.

    Nobody had a bad game – would have been less nervous if we had slotted a penalty and stretched the lead to 8 but never really looked like losing.

    I will enjoy the moment before our inevitable humiliation by Italy in a few weeks…..

    1. Have to agree the Lions form sheet and media selections are completely torn up after that display.

      On basis of some of the player ratings I’ve already seen published by the English media not one of the English players would have made the Scotland team. I have to agree with that myself. The entire team justified their selection.

      Need to back up the performance next week against Wales to give Gatland no excuses.

      1. If Scotland can claim a triple crown this year, they simply have to have a considerable share of the seats on the plane. With Gatland there though, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do beat Ireland & Wales and still get the least number in the squad.

      1. Och isnt just. Because its not the fact we turned up and won is it. Its because the opposition just played so poorly. Same old same old. Time to use the tide to our benefit. This has to now be our time….

      2. Once again, an “Eddie Jones” team has no idea what to do when the unexpected faces them. Fifteen minutes to go and the their kicking game has been getting nowhere but they still persist. Lawrence and Slade could have been sitting in the stand for all the involvement they had. Eddie, have you heard of Plan B? Of course, Scotland would have coped with Plan B even if Eddie had the brains to think of it!!!!!! Wee rush of blood re attempted drop goal but no damage!!!

  9. Hope Warren Gatland enjoyed that one!

    Magnificent performance from Scotland. Points squandered for sure, but a mark of quality that it didn’t matter.

    Well done Scotland!

  10. We should now suck up the belief and let it pump within our veins and NO MATTER WHO, NO MATTER WHO we come across never change our shape in how we choose to play. This is who we are now lets go do the same to who ever comes in our way!

  11. I just saw bits of the last 20mins unfortunately due to TV issues £#:S*YW$ can’t wait to watch the full match. From what I saw it looked pretty cagey, England smashed us back in a scrum and pinned us back. I guess all the good play from us was in the first hour or so? Really thought we had blown it again kicking it to them with less than 60s to go, WHY?

    Fantastic result and should give the encouragement to not be afraid of anyone else. We beat all the others apart from Ireland last year so there should be no concerns. Ireland have been our bogey team recently, usually pretty close matches but we haven’t been able to unlock them. England have been mince for a while but up until now managed to keep grinding the wins out anyway (as they do).

    1. 1.8T, just watch the opening eight minutes of the second half while Finn was in the bin.
      Complete game control, more than just running the clock down until we got back to 15 players.
      The game control then, and again in the last few minutes, was superb. Such fun to watch England players desperately get possession while equally desperately trying not to add to their pile of conceded penalties.
      Complete forward control, a thing we’ve not seen from the navy blue for a while now.

    2. If you look at the records the worst record we have was Wales in last ten years. Only one win in Edinburgh till last year…we’ve had a couple of very good wins against Ireland recently at murrayfield…but certainly more recently we haven’t beat Ireland and had lots of games….4 in last two years and no wins…we should have beat them close games at times

  12. That was the full performance from the team- belligerent, tough, accurate, fit, inspired, and bold. Redpath stepped right up and the forwards were just excellent. I think we can see a lot more from these boys. Time to believe again. Well done lads, you’ve made the country very happy, and very pished.

  13. What an inspired and gutsy performance. Every man gave their all but special mention to George Turner for beating all expectations.
    Gray, Hogg, Russell, Watson, Ritchie, Sutherland, VDM and Maitland all showed their class. Fagerson bros too.
    But our 3rd choice hooker? Under pressure and everything to lose. Brilliant.

  14. Finn Russell is an absolute lunatic. But oh my gosh it is just so much more fun when he is fit and playing and no one knows what he is going to try.

    Also best line out display I can remember in years. Our third choice hooker and he totally dominates (probably my man of the match). Also loved watching Maitland both with and without the ball.

    Please please please turn up against Wales.

  15. To put it in footballing parlance that was a 1-0 drubbing. You would need to go back into the mists of time to find a match report which showed England being bested in every facet of the game on the old cabbage patch to the extent they were today! That was a complete team performance from Scotland and while some older followers such as myself watched the last 10 minutes from behind the sofa the team showed great composure to close out the match.
    Stuart Hogg was rightly named man of the match but in truth no one would have complained if it had gone to any one of half a dozen others.
    For what it’s worth here are my mentioned in despatches:
    Cameron Redpath – an outstanding debut and to the manor born
    George Turner – took his chance and some in an all round impressive display
    Johnny Gray – his finest performance for Scotland bar none
    The back row collective – utterly dominant

    I’m lucky enough to remember the win in 1983 but don’t think anyone will object to it being well and truly consigned to the history books.

  16. I’m getting thru the malts and I love the Mish. Still can’t get over Redpath & Turner….BRILLIANT.
    Can’t wait to watch this match over and over again. Was that really a Scotland team putting in an 80 min clinical performance. Bring on the Welsh…

  17. Hallelujah.

    Top marks to GT – finally that performance that changes everything – and every player.

    That wasn’t some grizzled smash and grab, but a championship contending team.

    The sight of Vunipola trudging off :D

    And what a lineout, what a scrum, what a platform. A no 8 has stepped up.

    Hogg probably the first name on the Lions team sheet. Russell and Gray next. DVDM?

    My my what a debut from Redpath, and Turner just perfect.

  18. That game felt like redemption for the World Cup. We did to England what Japan did to us – had all the possession, territory and created scoring chances despite relentless defence.
    Let’s see how many Scots are on the plane (or megabus ?) with Warren after that

    1. I thought there were quite a lot of similarities with how England beat the all blacks in the WC.

      Shut them down, didn’t allow them to fire a shot and arguably should have won by a couple more scores.

      1. I think it could very well be 32-12 next week…Wales looked mince today…and we should spank them…not that players can think like that. Ireland battered them with 14 men…

  19. Wow, what a performance, everything we’ve been desperate for came good this afternoon. Precision, control, intensity and aggression from the pack, they were immense. Thought J Gray has really matured, an O’Connellesque performance and probably my MOTM. The kicking game was loads better – Price’s charge downs excepted – with some great chasing and intelligent positional kicks. England were poor but how many times in the past have we not capitalized on poor opposition. It was the game management and collective team effort that won this afternoon and that is a reflection on the massively improved coaching. Not sure if that is down to Toonie or his assistant coaches – but then GT has made the most of his new team so really either way, hats off to the guy. Need to follow up against Wales next week but the signs are promising that the mind-set has changed and that is a huge set forward.

  20. Just watching this back and 2 little moments stand out in the second half.

    First is when we are down to 14 and grinding through the phases on the edge of their 22 to eat the clock on the card – simple one-out stuff. We get an advantage (from an admittedly harsh call) and the speed the players transition to looking for quick ball and releasing the backs down the blind-side is frightening; England are really caught cold, and even watching it back – when I know it will happen – it still impresses me.

    Second is when England have line-out ball deep in their 22. The maul splinters and they are rolling virtually unopposed. 9 times of 10 you give away a penalty there by panicking and bringing the maul down, but they take a breath, regroup and slow it and England give the ball back from a poor box kick. The only thing that really hurts us there is giving the penalty away, which is so easy to do, but they sidestep it.

    Both instances just showed excellent game awareness and clarity of thought. Aside from the double brain fart in the last minute, that was what really impressed me today. The two year experiment with”fastest rugby in the world” has been replaced with something more pragmatic, but when we need to play with pace and width the ability and experience is there.

    You’re never comfortable as a Scottish fan, and you’re never comfortable less than a score up, but this was a comfortable win in every other respect.

    1. Nice summary David. It was a far more mature and professional approach today. No “rabbits in the headlights” response, everything looked composed and intelligent (barring the odd inevitable slip-up). If – and possibly a big “if” – we can maintain that approach, I think Scottish fans can look back on today as a big turning point on the national team’s fortunes.

    2. Agree. That was the best yellow card management I can EVER remember from Scotland.

  21. What a great team performance!
    Best overall team effort and quality Ive witnessed for a long time.
    Saying England were poor is not even close to the point….they were outplayed all over the park…and were given no chance too get back into it. They played about as well as they were allowed to.
    DVDM and Redpath are exceptional at this level. To play at that level at 21 in your 1st international in a really big match against a top rated team is exceptional. Already both are stick ons.
    Turner too ..he should keep his spot regardless of who is fit.
    Anyway everyone played great.
    Only criticism would be how long GT left it to bring on replacements when some players were clearly spent…almost let England in for a short spell which would have been a travesty.
    Itoje’s expression when the huge Oil Kebble came on and strutted past him said it all….concerned to say the least.
    Hopefully we can refocus quickly and kick on from here… and not just be content with an England win.

    1. Redpaths turnover on (I think) Johnny Jill in particular stands out. Especially his words after…

      1. I think Johnny Jill is about right! Looked caught in the headlights from the 5th minute. As many of them did. Their leadership was poor and they were very quiet as a pack. Genge’s face looked like a smacked a**e from start to finish.

    2. Turner is 1st Pick, I agree: I have never been a Fraser Brown fan. He is a liability. His darts are poor and he is a penalty machine. Now McInally is different. He is a bit off the boil just now , but it was his try that started the fightback 2 years ago. Toony should stick with this team to a man , till injury picks them off.

  22. Lost! All is lost! Damned to forever languish in…

    wait… we won! On the road!

    It could be a while before I get to enjoy a moment like this again, so I will savour it.

    On a serious note though congratulations to everyone involved for a very well organised and disciplined performance. When Russell got carded I thought we would implode, but the players held their nerve well. Made the right decisions at the right times throughout and the set pieces functioned very well.

  23. Credit to Andrew Brace, had the courage to call what he saw.

    Hope he’s not getting too much abuse.

    1. I thought it was a sound performance from Brace. I get a bit fed up with some of the high profile refs and their smart commentary. You know who I mean….the game is not about them. If you don’t notice the referee, then he’s done a good job.

  24. I have to admit, I’m slightly disappointed that only four of our lads – Price, Harris, Jonny Gray & Redpath – took the knee at the start. It’s something that’s been doing the rounds a little on Twitter.

    Would’ve been nice if we could’ve presented a unified front. I don’t know why Hogg and the rest of the XV chose not to participate.

    1. Well Sam, it could be anything from – considering it inappropriate forum for political issues, an assessment of irrelevance of the action, a concern of adding weight to unspecified grievance or solution, a preference to deal with sort of issues that could be encompassed in a less combative manner, to avoid virtue signalling lacking substance for its own sake, simply a desire not to be distracted, a principle to kneel to no one, or possibly just unawareness or habit, to holding or being an apologist of racist views.

      Unless you really think the latter, or want to mandate them to take the knee, suggest you allow them to make their own decisions as they are permitted to.

      This thread is not really on the topic the performance and insinuates some form of racism. Should really be deleted within the rules.

      1. Just wait – Cammy Black and his woke followers will spend 20 minutes talking about it in the next podcast… right after the 20 minutes they hark on about Manscaped

        In the end we will get 10 minutes of actual rugby talk as per usual.

    2. I couldn’t care less of the take knee or not actions.
      Its how you treat all people day to day that matters. Taking a knee essentially to be seen to be non racist is lame. There is no place for racism in our modern society. However taking a knee on camera at a sporting event proves little if not nothing.

      1. Ban Sam Benedict and delete this thread please, it clearly goes against the rules and i’m so fed up of hearing nonsense like this in every game and podcast/newsletter out there. I (and 95% of everyone else) just want to enjoy the rugby… and talk about THE RUGBY!!

  25. Started the day with a bracing sunrise (sun was there somewhere) catching Northumbrian coast stroll, ended the day with a big smile on my face.
    Magnificent & mature performance by Scotland.
    All the guys deserve immense credit, however Jonny Gray – he was Paul O’Connell esque, Redpath – looks to the manner born, what a performance on his debut, Maitland – a Rolls Royce, Watson – he’s simply fantastic, Turner -can be very proud and Hogg was a mature and an inspiration. M.Fagerson gave his best performance. Tremdous

  26. What a result. What a performance. Everyone a hero. Matt Fagerson I think deserves special praise, some mighty praise.
    Russell seems to be that level of famous now where what he does on the pitch bears little resemblance to the reaction, some reports saying he bossed it, others saying he was a disaster. Truth was he had a poor game by his standards but was still integral to the win. The English were clearly terrified by his threat which gave space to Redpath and others, and when by did start to flow especially for the try he was heavily involved.

    1. Thats one of key advantages of having several world class players …if the opposition are focused on them other players have more space and if they dont..well..they have a free reign.
      Redpath and DVDM will do exactly that for Scotland.. in addition to Hogg and Russell.

    2. Exactly, that’s the brilliance of having that kind of player on the team. I also don’t think Finn had a particularly great game personally but he was still a massive influence on the game.

      Hogg’s the same, and I think VDM will probably be treated the same way by opposition now.

  27. A game to savour for some time. I watched it 2nd time around at about 11pm and was able to enjoy it even more! A true team performance.

    To add to the comments already posted…
    Delighted that Matt Fagerson really stood up and repaid Townsend’s faith. The comparison in dynamism between him and his opposite number was stark to say the least.

    Again, what a key role played by Maitland, putting massive kick / chase pressure on May, and it paid.

    And Steele, what maturity to come on at that stage of the game and kick the way he did.

    Best performance in a Scotland shirt from Jonny Gray? Much more authoritative in his ball carrying than he has been at times. The move to Exeter has had an impact.

    I could go on, not a single weak performance. Deep breath and savour.

    1. Matt Fagerson impressed yesterday …but he still needs to bulk a bit…and still has big tests to come against Ireland and France…as the whole team does.
      Maitland is hugely underrated…very solid winger. D Graham needs to watch him and learn.

      1. yeah and all the chat of the Saracens players being undercooked, Maitland looked just fine to me :)

  28. Never been Chris Harris’s greatest fan but my goodness he is a key component defensively and is beginning to break the gain line.
    Men of match a collective award.

  29. I know some will disagree however I thought the referee handled it well, he missed a lot of England offsides at rucks and I would have been having a word sooner with England , the penalty count was a shocker. England just ticked away their yellow card on scrum setting, and that was winding me up, but we never got flustered by this obvious tactic. Yesterday Scotland just stuck to the task and did not let the gamesmanship wind them up. Very cool heads.

      1. Everyone does. Their attempts to get the upper hand when they sense the opposition getting momentum often crosses the line of the laws…They are canny about it I’ll give them that… but I think we actually have a few players with more quality that they do. They are good at the game style they play.. though I think we can beat them.

      1. Yeah I was a bit perplexed at that too, we were a man up but wasted a lot of the time with that load of scrums in the corner. Didn’t do us any harm but would have been better to take the points, get the ball back and capitalise on the man advantage. Can’t criticise too much though, the game was managed very well.

      2. They were clearly going for pen and second yellow which was a poor tactic with it taking so long to get 1st yellow…think ref gave them 3 warnings on a second yellow and didn’t give it…that is what is clearly being expected from refs from their superiors so can’t blame them but it effectively rewards cheating which I canny stand when its so blatant….

    1. Not at all, it keeps them within 3 points of us, which could make a significant difference come the end of the championship

  30. My other thought is, great as this win and performance was it means nothing if we don’t back it up in the rest of the championship. This sets us up with a chance to do something special, let’s not blow it by getting ahead of ourselves and reverting to our historic role of nearly but not quite there, lower-mid table in championship terms.

    1. Agreed and so important taking Wales…can handle a loss in France thats a tough game but really when you get to 3 wins 2 losses you can be 2nd or 4th in tournament…you win 4 you are in the mix….Ire beat Fra next week I reckon so only team with grand slam chance by end of week 2 is the winner at murrayfield…should be us on so many levels but we are Scotland…

      1. If France can play their 1st choice 15 and play like they can…France will beat Ireland and by a country mile. Much more talent in that French team.
        Guessing which France turns up however is still a coin toss…and so dogged Ireland might grind them down with their display of run the ball 2m and drop.. all the way to the 5m line…or hang on this team looks handy..lets take their best players out when the ref is looking the other way.

  31. Calcutta Cup 2021 – Not many teams in world rugby have derailed the chariot as Scotland did yesterday.

  32. Put it in context, 1983 was a one off but this was our 2nd consecutive visit to Twickenham where we drew or won.

    We left 8 or 11 points (can’t remember) from normally kickable kicks on the pitch so it could have been more!
    We also came out of 10 mins with a man binned 3pts in credit.

    There is a nice balance of attack and defence in the team.
    Why shouldn’t we believe in ourselves?

  33. Best game management from Scotland I think I’ve ever seen and without stating the obvious, our defence has really gone up a level. To keep such a (on paper) powerful and quick team tryless is very impressive. Everyone seemed to go up a level and certainly did our Lions chances no harm…could Duhan be the first lion to face the country of his birth??

    If you were to nitpick you could say it was disappointing how many times we went into their 22 and did not come away with something. Place kicking needs to improve too for (even) tighter games. I do hope we can back it up next week, Wales will be hurting from the last time we beat them. The extra day’s recovery could prove vital as they’ll be in for a physical one today and their reliance on the old boys could be telling.

    Would be surprised to see any changes in the team sheet, a lot of players put their names in ink on their jerseys.

    1. If Duhan understands Afrikaans it will be a benefit. We could do with a forward with the same language skill.

      1. Bulldog: That forward that can speak Afrikaans will be CJ Stander. Other than him from what I saw this weekend , Gatland’s bum will be making buttons. Why : Other than scotsmen , very few players in the other sides looked like a lion.

    2. The game management, however, was almost completely undone by Russells poor decision to attempt a drop kick.

      1. It was the right decision, the pass was poor and put it on his wrong foot, England players were off their mark quickly, he should therefore have ran or passed.

        We were in a better position a few phases earlier to take the drop goal. That would have put us 2 scores ahead and denied England a bonus point.

    3. I think there was a Kiwi-English mercenary who got into the Lions – not sure if it was against theABs?

    4. I think our lack of tries is due to the admission that the ideology we were shooting for in 1st few years of GT was going to fail.
      Great defense wins matches…fancy tries are a bonus. There is a chance that we could actually win a comp some day…before the change?..nah!

  34. Great result but my God they put you through the wringer. I spent the last 15 minutes thinking”We should be out of sight, we’re going to blow it” but the control we had was something that you usually see from Wales or Ireland to close out a game. Then Russell tries the never on drop attempt and I’m out of my chair shouting “WTF” . There’s a time and a place Finn and that wasn’t it, almost had a bonafide heart attack.
    Congrats to the team and coaching staff,back it up now against the Welsh (who I love seeing beaten even more than England)

      1. My point was,we needlessly gave England a wee chance when we didn’t have to . I am sure it will be part of the coaching staff post game analysis. Will that stop Russell doing it again ? I doubt it but that’s what you get with Finn I suppose

      2. Ocht , that is a bit oversensitive, Finn was just showboating, like Jim Baxter when he played Keepy Uppy with the England World cup football squad. Now do not be having a heart attack, there is a lot of fun to be had yet and I for one , want you to be right in the heart of it !

      3. The drop goal was a terrible call whoever it was…not sure Hogg could have been involved in that was he???

        However once decided the pass was poor so he had to adjust…but the ball dropping our way was just luck…we were very fortunate there but essentially bought the luck from the performance

      4. I’m not convinced the drop goal decision was a bad decision, the execution was poor but if he gets it they move beyond a score and deny England a loosing bonus point. As per last year that could be important in the end. I like to think that was Russell showing the ambition not just to win the game but the tournament.

  35. It is worth highlighting two seemingly minor gestures associated with yesterdays Calcutta Cup match which help make great teams. First – putting the names of the Scotland 1871 team members on their 2021 counterpart jerseys was a physiological master stroke. It said ‘You are part of something special, now go out there and make it so’. Secondly – Hogg, getting the two Test debutantes to raise the cup was the mark of good leadership on his part, and the approval of the rest of the players indicates a camaraderie which is essential to winners.

  36. Quite a few analysts saying that France or New Zealand would have put 50 points on England yesterday and therefore the Scotland win wasn’t that impressive. Must admit I wished we had taken one of the two missed penalties to go two scores in front late in the game. But then I was worried we might have taken our foot off the gas rather than fighting to the end. Questions about our mental strength away from home have been answered resoundingly.

    I’d argue two factors as to why we didnt score more. First England’s defense is good and even though they were on the back foot they scrambled well. At the same Tandy continues to work miracles with our defense. Price was under pressure at times and the Russell Redpath axis will get even better with time but we looked way more dangerous than England with ball in hand or in the air.

    The other point to consider was the wet conditions. It was really chucking it down in the second half and it wasnt any longer a day for throwing it about. Up the jumper with the forwards, and keeping the ball especially with forward dominance was the low risk route. Our kicking from hand was exceptional but so was our kick chase and catching. We did what England couldnt by kicking to their corners, making them fumble and keeping the pressure on.

    1. Analysts – Just talkers not do’ers. Scotland were not flawless , but the big thing is Scotland finished it where they normally snatch defeat and that brings resilience.

      1. Exactly, that’s two recent games against Wales and England away from home where we played well but never really threatened to run up a score. We have had loads of those kind of games in recent years and virtually every time the game was ultimately just beyond our reach or we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with some silly mistakes. That’s two tight games (on the score line front at least) where we have managed to see it through. That’s bound to do wonders for confidence. The team looks galvanised, I have questioned Hogg’s leadership but he looked a different man yesterday.

    2. See comments above…funny how we meet so many teams on their off days…

      We are their off day. End of.

      1. Scotland now boast a very good recent record against England: 2018 W, 2019 D, 2020 L, 2021 W. My Irish family said we were their bogey team.

    3. Those analysts are just trying to demean the Scotland performance if saying that.
      Scotland played a clever and mature match coupled with great defense.
      England were playing a similar brand of rugby in the autumn series and beat France 22-19…so I think they are talking poo-poo.

  37. Do you know what, Russell is the best stand-off we’ve had in a generation and I’d far rather have him in our team than out. Yes he makes mistakes but who doesnt.

    On the drop goal attempt, it wouldnt have been my call but I can understand that they wanted to get the two score lead that would have put the game to bed. Russell received a terrible pass and with hindsight he probably should have run or chipped towards the corner over the on rushing defense. The real positive for me on that attempt though was Hogg’s positioning for the possible charge down which he recovered saving the game for us.

  38. Was that the best ever Scottish debut by Redpath?
    I remember Hogg announcing himself on the international scene in some style v France but for me Redpath eclipsed that. Is he a goal-kicker?

    1. Hoggs first game was coming on against Wales in Cardiff, he beat multiple players and was denied a try by an incorrect refereeing and TMO decision.

      Redpath looked calm and assured. Hoping he might be trusted as stand off back up as opposed to VDM on the bench allowing Jones and Graham as game changing replacements.

  39. What next : My take. Wales and Ireland play higher and shorter kicks than England and we traditionally mishandle in the resulting confusion. Both are better at fielding kicks and getting up for the penalty if touched in flight.

    Time to get all 23 under high balls and work on taking and off loading tactics. Get the ladies team, schoolboys, every decent club player on furlough down to Murrayfield ( socially distanced off course) for their ‘exercise’ time, line them up and they can just punt the ball up for our lads all day long.

    1. Let’s prepare for Wales by playing our ladies team? Hmm.. You might be on to something there!

      1. Sorry about that, I’ve got no intention to troll you. I just found your suggestion preposterous. If I’m getting you right, you’re suggesting that we line up as many registered players (children /adults /ladies / gents) as possible on a training pitch and get them to aim high balls “all day long” at the Scotland team in preparation for the next two home games? Again apologies if I got that wrong, but that’s how it reads. Is that really what you were suggesting?

  40. I’ve got a question on the decision when to go for goal and when to go for the corner: we had a penalty in the last 15/20mins, shortly after Finn had missed a kickable pen. It was in a vey straightforward position and would have put us two scores up. We went for the corner and ended up getting nothing. Then in the last 5/10mins we had a pen just inside their half. It was really not a kickable pen but Hogg went for it when a kick to the corner might have allowed us to run the clock down camped in their half.

    Obviously it worked out for us but I would be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on whether they were the correct options.

    1. Agreed, I know Hoggy can boot it a long way but I haven’t seen him score many of those long rangers. It’s a difficult one though, if he scores it’s a great decision that puts us more than a score clear, if he punts it in the corner and we spill the lineout then he’s an idiot and should have “taken the points”, catch 22.

      Think we still need to have a think about the strategy for running the clock down, it was a bit too nerve wracking for my liking yesterday. Teams like England, Ireland and Wales can all quite easily play keep ball for 5mins at the end and close out games. Not sure if the reason is because it’s not a situation we find ourselves in that often, we are usually either frantically chasing a game or comfortably ahead in the last few mins. The drop goal attempt was a sensible idea but poorly timed and executed, it was never on at that point.

  41. Good to see Peter O’Mahony get a red for that blatant elbow to the head. Such a dirty player. With the increasing emphasis on head injuries I hope he gets a lengthy ban.

    Wales struggling against a 14 man Ireland. Cautious optimism for next weekend.

    1. Agreed as to red card. The clear-out tactic where a player throws himself off his feet is always dangerous and with rugby’s emphasis on player safety it is an area where a rule change is now overdue.

      1. It’s already against the rules (being off feet and not binding on to the ruck). Just needs referees to crack down. I think this idea of “surviving” a clearout is also on the way out.

    2. We should be optimistic given our result against England but I wouldn’t take anything for granted next week.

      Wales have brought back a lot of experience and shored up their pack. They didn’t look particularly good against Ireland but it could be a major banana skin as we need to handle expectation and Wales will visit with increased confidence after an opening round win.

      If we can repeat the level of performance against England and fix the few issues that emerged (Price’s charge downs, place-kicking, a few flaky shovel ins by Russell) we’ll win.

      1. On balance , I am glad won and we dont face them wounded. The down side is they are now chasing the championship , but if we can beat them , we remain above Wales and Ireland before we face France.

        It is rare we win the opening game and go into the next round ahead. I feel sure Kevin will have stats on the significance.

        We have a break before France and then Ireland . With Italy last , this is looking like a decent fixture list for us.

    3. Agree about the POM red.

      Watching that game made me glad our game wasn’t on the BBC and wasn’t reffed by Wayne Barnes! Awful commentary, Eddie droning Butler should have been replaced years ago.

      Loved Barnes’ comment just before the red, “just a clear out”. To then get pulled back and issue a red! Did his best to hand that game to Wales as well.

      1. Can’t agree with that. Barnes is imo the best referee in Test match rugby.
        He judged it wrongly but honestly as a clear out in real time but luckily these days we have a TMO to help refs out.
        O’Mahony is a top class flanker but is also a thug. Surely we all remember his unpunished take-out of Hogg two years ago that led directly to an Ireland try?

    4. Brilliant. I hate that man with a passion only exceeded by Jonny Sexton and Owen Farrell but would give my left arm to have him on my team, an absolute thug but monster at the breakdown.

    5. I think the way Ireland play going down to 14 has less impact on them than some other teams.
      They constantly play ball retention and wait till they sniff the try line before they have a go. When Scotland went to 14 for 10mins thats pretty much how they played…and it was successful. Ireland pretty much play that way for the 80.

  42. Did the kick allow the clock to tick forward and eat away time possibly not as much as a kick to touch,maul ruck possible try. The thing is the boys were full of confidence to them it didn’t matter. To hell we miss, let them come back at us we’ll take them on na bother!

  43. Good to see O’Mahoney get his marching orders…always a dirty player.

    On another note …the weather is predicted to be pretty awful next sat in edinburgh…would like to see our team play in good conditions sometime soon.

    1. Mind you, thought Sexton and the other Irish player (forget who it was) should have been yellow carded for their high tackles around the neck … One arm sticking out and getting the neck.

    2. Ruggers, decent weather forecast either side of match time so fingers crossed it’s good conditions to see how our attach matches up.

  44. We now have 3 very tough games ahead, all of which we could realistically lose.

    Keep the same team (perhaps Graham to the bench with Jaco sitting out, i would confident in Redpath or Hogg to get basics right in a Russell injury situation)

    It was a good performance and the forwards were perfect. All the backline stood up defensively and tactically. However, we will need to create more scoring opportunities and execute them if we want to beat France and Ireland. Hogg and Russell need to improve their kicking at goal. Hopefully the weather yesterday was the main factor in this and i expect to see that backline improve in attack significantly with time together.

    George Turner was my Man of the match.

    1. Small follow up…

      Wales looked like they stepped up a level from the Autumn internationals, Ireland red card or not, that will be a tough game.

      1. I disagree Ireland should have won that with 14 men…so don’t rate Wales at all. Did us a huge favour beating Ireland today they’ll be tough…Wales not so

      2. Wales also have a 6 day turnaround and looked to suffer a number of injuries that won’t be healed in that time.

        I think we have better players across the park at this point, and should play with the expectation of a win. Other teams have had that swagger against us for years. There’s no reason for us not to go in with that kind of conference.

      3. SW90 : We only have a 6 day turnaround as well, because our lads were all on the beer last night and on a 38 year hangover today.

      4. From what I saw, Ireland looked the better side. They are as cunning as a bag of weasels and were in the game right up to that final kick.

        If Wales don’t change their side , we are onto a good thing, the back line had no invention, Biggar is gormless, Halfpenny while consistent , is flat out of spark, George North in the centre, not really effective. Louis Rees Zammit and the front row turned up.

        I hope we keep our cool against them, they are WUM’s and deserve to be humped all the way back to the Bristol Channel.

      5. To me …Wales started well….then pretty quickly fell away.Ireland would have won that match with a full complement on the field ..imo.
        Ireland definitely tougher to beat than Wales
        Wales will be difficult also as they have some very good players..but they aren’t the same side since Gatland left.

    2. Hogg took one shot from 49 metres. It was worth a go and took up a couple of minutes of valuable time while we remained narrowly ahead.
      Shame about Russell’s misses. I don’t think he’s first choice place kicker for Racing 92 and maybe that’s why he was off target.
      However, Finn seems to have found an extra 10/15 metres to his kicking from hand in his time at Racing.

      1. Rob, I agree. Though the strength of the team performance yesterday bodes well for more consistency. It was a performance we’re not so familiar with and more akin to top 4 teams. Shame the points weren’t fully delivered but hopefully that will come as we work on finding a balance between solid defence and attaching ability.

      2. Yeah…funny you say that…when I last watched him in a racing match he wasn’t kicking and I was thinking how that could effect his Scotland kicking.
        On Sat his penalty kicking looked pretty rusty.

  45. I was just flicking through the TV listings and noticed a number of celebs declaring their Scottish connections. Darcy Bussell – Wild coasts of Scotland on Monday. Joanna Lumley on Tuesday ( “If you took me apart you’d find on my bones would be tattooed the Saltire”). Reminds me, as if I needed to be, how lucky we are to be Scottish and what a fabulous country we belong to. Just sometimes, like now, it’s even better ! Sorry – too much wine cooking the Sunday dinner but hey if you can’t let your hair down (and I have quite a lot of hair just now due to lockdown) after a day like yesterday when can you?!

  46. So delighted and proud of the players and coaches. Townsend was perhaps too raw initially but hopefully is finding his feet now and Tandy’s done wonders with defensive system. The players look happy and confident which says a lot about the coaching and Team unity. Terrific play from 1-15 and all the reserves who came on. So much potential in Russell and Redpath combo. Can see them establishing something exciting and of high quality. I hope Duhan shines at Worcester, concerned he won’t see much ball and drops a level. He’s one powerful runner.

    Well done Scotland, you’ve made my weekend and more.

    1. I think Tandy 100% has been critical to the change defense. However the whole coaching staff need to be retained.. at least through the next RWC all are clearly making a valuable contribution.

  47. Whole hearted performance yesterday. Really fronted up. Watson MOM for me followed closely closely by Turner / Gray / Hogg. Star performances across the park though. Need to be more clinical. Also dislike Finn’s habit of inane grinning when he does something poor. Not good body language . Geat player when on song though and not a day for complaints. Will live long in the memory.

    1. I know the grinning annoys some people but it’s just the way he is I think. If he messes up he laughs it off, I don’t doubt that inside he will be just as disappointed as everyone else if he misses if not more so. It’s just his coping mechanism for failure, the other end of the scale is someone like Hogg (not singling him for criticism, just an example) who clearly and visibly get frustrated and end up trying to force things.

  48. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone touting Hogg as a potential Lions captain. I think it’s between him, Ryan, Itoje and AWJ. (The latter two are far more likely, mind.)

    All three are nailed-on for the squad and they’re all likely Test starters, though, so I don’t know who’ll captain in midweek. Maybe Navidi, maybe Ben Youngs?

    1. I think it’s likely to be Itoje despite his lack of experience as captain, although AWJ would be the choice if he’s selected (Gatland may pick him even if his play doesn’t merit it).

      Hogg may well get a vice captain role if such a thing exists. I think he’s a certain starter at FB at this point as long as he stays fit.

      I don’t know why anyone would think Navidi would merit a squad place far less a midweek captaincy role. I also wouldn’t select Ben Youngs if I had Gatland’s position.

      While Farrell is much maligned in the English press at the moment, I think he might still claim the inside center spot. If that’s the thinking, he’d also be in with a good chance of captaincy.

      1. Slow Walk 90: If you were not to select Ben Youngs, who would you select as scrum Half ? Who said Navidi would be a midweek captain ? I agree it is a preposterous suggestion, but where did you hear or read that ?

      2. TENC: I’d have 2 Welsh scrum halfs and Connor Murray in the squad. The Navidi suggestion is two messages above your post.

    2. BBC mention Hogg as a possible Lions Captain. They also mention Itoje and Farrell as possibilities but I think the captain needs to be a celt, unless there is an outstanding English candidate, a la Johnson, and neither Itoje nor Farrell fits that description. Both seem rather divisive figures unless you’re English.
      Personally I think AWJ is in the driving seat – he was immense yesterday (again) and talk of his age is a red herring, given he lasted the full 80 minutes and was still putting tackles in.
      Nobody decides on a “mid-week” captain before the tour starts. Everyone should be vying for test spots. The skipper for any of the non-test games will be selected on a game by game basis. There will be enough leaders in the squad to do this.

      1. As both Itoje and Farrell failed to alter the losing English tactics, I would suggest that neither fits the bill as a captain. You need a thinker on the pitch to adapt to the situation.

  49. Townsend is building some record as a Scotland coach, pretty unlucky not to have 4 wins against England.

    1. Pretty childish to use someone else’s name, internet must have wound you up – take a deep breath ok :)

      To the substantial point, he underachieved at the last World Cup, had apparently alienated important players and blunted the attack. Without showing progress in the important games that did not flatter to deceive.

      Perfectly happy for this to have changed! Not least as the guy was my favourite player as a kid along with Gary Armstrong, and loved what he did at Glasgow (that Ulster semi final where Finn nailed the long pass and kick was perfect moment in his time there).

      This was the signature performance needed. Delighted he took a gamble in Redpath, and if this win can be backed up the future is golden.

      Couldnt be happier to be proved wrong (though I did wince when Harris passed into touch, which is not in any way a knock on his defensive strength against some top England players).

  50. Talking of grinning. It’s Monday morning and I am still doing it myself. What a game.What a performance. Second only to the Grand Slam victory of 1990, which started off my stag party. This time I enjoyed the game with my son. Fantastic.

  51. It was the composure, the confidence NOT to throw it wide, the confidence of keeping it in the forwards.
    Jonny Gray was immense & whilst Finn was Finn he certainly keeps the opposition honest 7 perhaps young Redpath had more space/time because of it.
    Nevertheless at least 2 more tries were mighty close (Harris & VDM) & I don’t think England really threatened in any real way.
    Couldn’t be happier at the improvement since RWC Japan.
    But I am scottish & never really 100% happy – a few more tries please.

  52. Kicking myself for not recording the match. Highlights package very poorly edited and BBC News/ Sports seem to have just bought in from ITV.
    Good edit/ match available anywhere ?

  53. Need to mention the Superbru fantasy rugby

    Cammy Black sitting top of both the SRB and Scotland Fans pools – with >2000 teams in the latter! Superb work.

    My selection of O’Mahoney (at -5 points after his red card) seriously scuppered my chances…..

  54. I think Townsend deserved a lot of credit here. He’s come in for a lot of criticism after the WC mess and that was merited. I was very much on the fence on whether he should stay and even more nervous once the Finn saga blew up.

    But the improvement we saw last year is real, no question. Toonie has changed his approach both in terms of tactics but also selection and environment. And you can see that the players all buy into it and are very very much united. You could see the joy in the way they played, the confidence they have in each other. They look happy, and play without fear. Watching how they asked Redpath and Cherry to pick up the trophy and the way Hogg embraced Redpath show a very different set of players. A lot of that comes from being supported and encouraged by the coaches.

    I am a very happy man. That was a performance we’ve been hoping for for a long time. The entire team and staff deserve huge credit. Now they need to just keep pushing on.

  55. We will need to batter Alun Wyn Jones into submission first and foremost against Wales. Get into his head and the rest of the team will crumble.

    I would love to see Duhan run down Biggars channel and send him flying. No doubt we will hearing plenty of his pathetic crying to the ref.

    Wonder what the odds are on a Liam Williams dive at the weekend?

  56. My team for Wales

    Stuart Hogg – Sean Maitland – Chris Harris – Cameron Redpath – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Hamish Watson – Jamie Ritchie – Jonny Gray – Scott Cummings – Zander Fagerson – George Turner – Oli Kebble

    Darcy Graham – Duncan Taylor – Scott Steele – Blade Thomson – Richie Gray – Simon Berghan – David Cherry – Rory Sutherland

    Not included
    Allen Dell, Alex Craig, Gary Graham, Grant Gilchrist, Grant Stewart, Willem Nel, Byron Mcguigan, Huw Jones, James Lang, Jaco Van Der Valt, Charlie Shiel, George Taylor, Darcy Rae

    Kebble is on the same level as Sutherland just about. I think its important he gets starting game-time against a team we should be beating without full first choice starting XV.

  57. Berghan and Thomson if they can bothered to tune in. Let Nel be involved he was having fun on Saturday and also what did Graham do wrong….

    1. Graham did not do anything wrong TamCa, if it was France, or Ireland i would keep him on the bench and if Italy i would give him a start.

      Thomson will be able to help us more than Graham this game with his insider welsh knowledge tis all. He is not a bad player to bring off the bench.

  58. Very true. Id like to see Thomson show a bit more aggression in his performance. Though after Saturday the buzz and drive to win will have increased massively. We’ll see a big shift from whoever plays. We’re in for a fantastic game. The boys are going to be buzzing with confidence. The Welsh will attempt to disrupt us but I believe the determination and belief in the boys will see us go up a gear something not seen by a Scotland side since 99′. Enjoy pal!

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