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
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)