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Scots pip England to retain Calcutta Cup

5th February, 2022
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5th February, 2022
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Scotland have defied the odds to edge out England 20-17 and retain the Calcutta Cup after a compelling duel at raucous Murrayfield.

Eddie Jones’ visitors, who had trailed 10-6 at the break on Saturday, looked on course for victory after Marcus Smith turned the match in their favour early in the second half.

But a penalty try awarded against Luke Cowan-Dickie proved pivotal as Scotland – who won at Twickenham a year ago – went on to claim another dramatic triumph, courtesy of Finn Russell’s 72nd-minute penalty.

Ben White

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It had been a wet and blustery day in Edinburgh, but conditions subsided slightly by the time kick-off arrived and England, captained for the first time by 23-year-old Sale back-rower Tom Curry, enjoyed a strong start.

They forced Scotland on to the back foot for much of the opening ten minutes, but were unable to get any points on the board to show for it.

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England eventually got the breakthrough their early dominance deserved in the 17th minute when Smith kicked a penalty from a central position after Jonny Gray was penalised for pulling in.

But Scotland responded just a minute later, taking a quick lineout on the right which allowed Darcy Graham to jink his way forward before laying it on a plate for debutant White to dart clear. Russell converted.

On the half hour, the hosts were fortunate to see a cross-field pass from Smith sail just over the head of Slade, who would have had a free run to the line wide on the right.

Smith reduced the deficit to one point with a penalty in the 34th minute after Scotland’s Jamie Ritchie was penalised for using his hands in a ruck.

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But in the last action of the half, Russell kicked another penalty to ensure the Scots, outplayed in all departments, went in with a four-point advantage.

Smith kicked another penalty in the 48th minute and appeared on a one-man mission to turn the game in England’s favour when he ran on to an offload from Ben Youngs and touched down to put his side in front five minutes later.

In the 63rd minute, Smith kicked his fourth penalty of the match to put England seven points in front and seemingly on course for victory.

But the hosts drew level with a 64th-minute penalty try after Cowan-Dickie was deemed to have knocked on Russell’s cross-field pass as he batted the ball out of play volleyball style.

The Englishman was duly sin-binned and Scotland capitalised on their extra-man advantage as Russell won the game with his 72nd-minute penalty.

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