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Six Nations Championship

Scintillating Scots on fire at Murrayfield

Huw JonesScotland’s Huw Jones (centre) celebrates his try with Finn Russell (SNS Group)

Scotland 25 England 13

Scotland survived a wave of England attacks in the dying minutes of a scintillating contest to secure their biggest Six Nations victory over their oldest opponents.

Three first half tries set Scotland on the road to a deserved success, with their opponents looking lacklustre and lacking in ideas.

Fly half Finn Russell shook off some earlier criticism to be named man of the match and rounded off his performance with a penalty that was Scotland’s only score in the second half.

Scotland, having delighted the crowd with a free-flowing performance in the first period, found themselves under greater pressure in the second, the visitors enjoying 66% of possession but unable to turn their dominance into points.

England burst out of the gates at the restart, Owen Farrell scoring a try and conversion in the first two minutes after the Scots were forced back.

Hogg missed a penalty to give the visitors greater hope of closing the gap, but Farrell was denied what he believed was a second try after a knock-on was detected before he received the ball.

Three tries capped a brilliant first half performance for the Scots who took an unexpected advantage into the interval.

Huw Jones, twice, and Sean Maitland put 15 points on the scoreboard to give the home side a deserved lead.

Laidlaw would be forgiven his one missed conversion as the home crowd sensed a rare triumph in the oldest of international fixtures.

England had won 24 out of their last 25 games and Scotland have not beaten England since 2008 but confidence was high for this Calcutta Cup meeting on the back of a good run of results at Murrayfield, including victory over Australia last autumn.

Gregor Townsend resisted the temptation to throw prop Willem Nel straight back into the starting line-up after his recovery from a broken arm against Samoa in November and instead kept faith with the starting XV who accounted for France last weekend.

Nel was included on the bench alongside lock Tim Swinson and centre Nick Grigg.

Scotland dominated the early stages with 60% of possession in the first 10 minutes as they harried their visitors.

Laidlaw gave Scotland an early lead when he scored a penalty awarded inside the first two minutes to give the home side the sort of start they were seeking.

Owen Farrell drew England level with a penalty  after 13 minutes kicked from deep on the left.

But Scotland capitalised on some sloppy errors in the England defence, Huw Jones pouncing on a loose ball to score a try between the posts, converted by Laidlaw.

A second Farrell penalty for England narrowed the margin before Jones’s second try opened up the half-time lead in Scotland’s favour.

The home side made a number of changes in the second half, Grant Gilchrist replaced by Tim Swinson in the second-row and with Jamie Bhatti in for Gordon Reid in the front row. With less than 20 minutes remaining Ali Price was sent on for Greig Laidlaw.


Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Peter Horne (all Glasgow), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Finn Russell (Glasgow), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne); Gordon Reid (London Irish), Stuart McInally, Simon Berghan, Grant Gilchrist (all Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Glasgow), John Barclay (Scarlets, capt), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow).

Replacements: Scott Lawson (Newcastle), Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow), Willem Nel (Edinburgh), Tim Swinson (Glasgow), Dave Denton (Worcester), Ali Price, Nick Grigg (both Glasgow), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh).

England: Brown; Watson, Joseph, Farrell, May; Ford, Care; Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Itoje, Lawes, Robshaw, Hughes.

Replacements: George, Marler, Williams, Kruis, Underhill, Wigglesworth, Te’o, Nowell



Tries: Jones (2) Maitland (1); Conversions: Laidlaw (2) Penalties: Laidlaw (1) Russell (1)


Tries: Farrell (1); Conversions: Farrell (1);  Penalties: Farrell (2)

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