Duhan van der Merwe scored the only try of the match as Scotland opened their 2021 Six Nations account with a historic 11-6 win over England at Twickenham on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The win was Scotland’s first victory at Twickenham in 38 years.
It was also a win much deserved for Gregor Townsend’s side, as they had the better of possession and territory for most of the match and really looked like the only side interested in playing some sort of expansive rugby.
Scotland have now won four Six Nations matches in a row and started their campaign on the front foot, reclaiming the Calcutta Cup from the defending Six Nations champions.
𝗡𝗼 𝗰𝗮𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗲𝗱 🏴 pic.twitter.com/z602Dlhw1m
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 6, 2021
Speaking of England, there will be plenty of questions asked of Eddie Jones’ side, who were solid defensively but made terrible decisions on attack. To put it bluntly, this is a team that looks over-coached and unable to play the situation as they inexplicably kicked the ball away in promising positions.
As if to illustrate England’s problems, wing Anthony Watson only touched the ball twice. His first touch – unbelievably – came in the 60th minute when he received the ball under pressure behind his own tryline. It simply boggles that England are continuing to play a gameplan that nearly saw them lose against a very young French team last year.
Scotland were well on top in the first half, but would have felt that they should have put plenty more on the scoreboard. The final score certainly doesn’t do their use of the ball any justice.
As it were, they could only take a 9-6 lead into the break, despite dominating possession and having the better of the territory against an England side that also lost Vunipola to a yellow card.
It was the South African-born Duhan van der Merwe’s try that separated the sides at half time and, in the end, proved to be the difference. The breakthrough came when George Turner was released out wide and the hooker passed to Duhan van der Merwe, who powered over the tryline.
Scotland lost Finn Russell to a yellow card just before the break, but excellent game management from scrumhalf Ali Price had them see out the period without conceding a single point.
As it happened, England were forced to play more and more expansively as the game went on, but they simply could not break through a watertight Scotland defence.
When Scotland last beat England at Twickenham in 1983…
– Michael Jackson was riding high in the charts with Billie Jean
– Tootsie was a worldwide box office sensation
– Gregor Townsend was 9 years old
– none of the Scotland team were born pic.twitter.com/rlcFLdhGP2
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) February 6, 2021
England – Penalties: Owen Farrell (2).
Scotland –Tries: Duhan van der Merwe. Penalties: Finn Russell (2).
England – 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.
Subs: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 George Ford, 23 Max Marlins.
Scotland – 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Subs: 16 David Cherry, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 WP Nel, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Gary Graham, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Huw Jones.
Photo: David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images