The Roar
The Roar

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England crushed in Six Nations boilover

Scotland are on the up. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)
24th February, 2018
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Scotland have produced a blistering display of attacking rugby to hand Eddie Jones just his second defeat as England head coach and end the visitors’ Grand Slam aspirations with a 25-13 Six Nations victory at Murrayfield.

Led by the brilliance of Huw Jones, who scored a brace of tries, and Finn Russell – criticised before the game but at the heart of Scotland’s best play – the hosts opened up a 16-point halftime lead, with Sean Maitland also touching down.

England improved after the break with a converted Owen Farrell try, but Sam Underhill was shown a yellow card to inhibit England’s hopes as the hosts expertly navigated the final 35 minutes to register a famous victory.

With Ireland earlier securing a bonus point win against Wales, their five-point lead over England in the standings puts them in a strong position to reclaim the title they last won in 2015.

Following a pre-game scuffle in the tunnel, the opening exchanges were full-blooded but dominated by Scotland who showed plenty of attacking intent which yielded a penalty, kicked by Greig Laidlaw for a 3-0 lead.

Buoyed by a vociferous Murrayfield crowd, the hosts consistently stretched the visitors’ defence and Jones collected a deft Russell grubber kick to dive over next to the posts to score Scotland’s first home try against England since 2004.

Farrell kept the visitors in touch with two penalties, but their attack was lethargic and in defence they simply could not contain Scotland with Russell and Jones combining to create the field position for Maitland to dive over in the corner.

At 15-6 down, a series of attacking penalties hampered England and their indiscipline was compounded shortly before halftime when Jones burst through and held off Mike Brown and Anthony Watson to score.

England’s response after the break was emphatic with Farrell cutting a superb line through the Scottish defence to reduce the deficit to nine points in the 44th minute.

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Farrell had a second try ruled out following a knock on in the build-up but any hopes of closing the gap further were dealt a major blow when Underhill was shown yellow for a dangerous tackle in the 66th minute.

Russell’s resulting penalty gave Scotland a 12-point lead which they defended superbly to seal a stunning victory in Gregor Townsend’s first Calcutta Cup clash as coach.

“It’s a great feeling,” Townsend said. “We knew how important this week was going to be, what it meant to our supporters and the players played with some real pride.”