England’s 2018 Six Nations campaign ended disastrously with their lowest ever finish in 5th place, but heading into the Round three clash at Murrayfield, Eddie Jones’ men were flying high with two wins from two.
With Scotland’s Calcutta Cup drought entering its tenth year, there was nothing to suggest England would be troubled. They had pounded Scotland 61-21 the year prior at Twickenham and had similar ambitions in mind.
With back-to-back Six Nations titles in the bag, Eddie Jones’ side was at the top of the rugby world having won 24 of their last 25 matches and wanted Scotland to know it.
In a display of physical intimidation, England inside centre Owen Farrell caused a stir when he sparked a tunnel scuffle pre-match. The England star pushed his way through the Scottish side leaving the field, exerting his dominance as the alpha male in an effort to try and get to the changing rooms first.
— THE OFFSIDE LINE (@theoffsideline) February 26, 2018
— Jürgen von Töpfer (@jurgenvontopfer) February 26, 2018
Will Owen Farrell be cited for making absolutely unnecessary contact with most of the @Scotlandteam running off the pitch after the warm up though ? #rugbyunited #SCOvENG #NatWest6Nations https://t.co/Tt3JG8YcHo
— Bucks RFU Referees (@BucksRFURS) February 26, 2018
That Owen Farrell does love a jostle. Likes it best when an opponent's running past him, without the ball, chasing a kick. Cannae resist a playful nudge. https://t.co/3ytK7gOeB4
— Aidan Smith (@aidansmith07) February 26, 2018
Sorry but Owen Farrell touched Ryan Wilson first. He was the one that started it in my eyes, don't care if anything was said. He should never have touched him like that.
— McFly Fan (@Mrs_Poynter98xx) February 26, 2018
The incident, unfortunately for England, ‘poked the hornet’s nest’, rousing Scotland to stand up and deliver a memorable performance on the back of some mesmerising play from flyhalf Finn Russell.
Gregor Townsend’s free-flowing wide-running rugby hit England in the face almost immediately.
Locked at 3-all in the early stages, a fortuitous Finn Russell grubber kick confounded England’s backfield to fall in the path of Huw Jones. The Scottish centre hacked the loose ball ahead to score under the posts and send Murrayfield into party-mode as Scotland scored the first try of the match.
It was clear that Owen Farrell was after Finn Russell with the England centre ensuring Russell felt the turf after the kick. As Russell ran past to celebrate with his teammates, he made sure to let Farrell know whose day it would be with a rub on the head.
Loved the wee pat on the head from @finn_russell to Farrell after Farrell had tried to take him out after the grubber kick for the first Scotland try. Farrell and co given a lesson in all departments on Saturday. #SCOvENG #Scotland
— Lemon (@matthewlemon) February 26, 2018
A short while later Finn Russell threw what many called the ‘greatest pass ever’ with a miraculous long floater sailing over the head of Jonathan Joseph and enter the waiting arms of Huw Jones.
The perfectly-thrown pass set Jones away downfield and with some quick organisation, Russell put Maitland over out wide for Scotland’s second try.
— Jack Mysyk (@JackMysyk) February 26, 2018
#SCOvENG was great. Scotland on fire. That Russell pass to Jones is the best/maddest I've seen since Quade Cooper/Carlos Spencer. And Huw Jones did the best re-enactment of O'Driscoll since BOD himself. England didn't deserve to score 1st half. (Legal not moral call.)
— Michael West (@m_r_west) February 26, 2018
— Scottish Rugby (at ?) (@Scotlandteam) February 26, 2018
Scotland’s first-half rampage wouldn’t be finished there.
A hard flat line off halfback Greig Laidlaw saw Huw Jones burst through England’s front line between Farrell and Nathan Hughes. With 50-metres to run, the centre pierced the gap between fullback Mike Brown and winger Anthony Watson, shrugging off both to score Scotland’s third try.
England struck back first in the second half with an Owen Farrell try but the deficit was too much to overcome and Scotland claimed back the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 2008.
After the match, England coach Eddie Jones said it was ‘a great lesson’ and describe his players as only human.
“We’re human beings. Human beings aren’t robots. We prepare to be intense, we prepare to be aggressive, but for some reason, we weren’t.”
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