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England Blow 31-Point Lead But Salvage Draw After Crazy Calcutta Cup Clash

Six Nations Report Card

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England 38 – 38 Scotland 

Scotland produced a stunning second-half performance to overcome a 31-7 deficit at halftime to find themselves 31-38 in the lead with just minutes remaining at Twickenham.

However, a try from George Ford with the clock in the red saw England salvage a draw when they were so close to falling to a remarkable defeat.


The writing looked to be on the wall for Scotland from the off once the visitors cleared their lines from the kick-off as Billy Vunipola gathered and England recycled the ball. The ball was dished out to Henry Slade who went on a dangerous run and timed his pass perfectly for Jack Nowell who skipped through a couple of tackles to touch down for England’s first with barely a minute played. Owen Farrell converted to give England a 7-0 lead.

10 minutes were yet to be reached on the clock when England added their second try. A clever lineout maul had too much momentum for Scotland as Tom Curry was on hand to ground the ball after his forward colleagues got things moving.

Joe Launchbury made it three tries for England just three minutes later when Kyle Sinckler powered through a gap after receiving a sublime offload from Ellis Genge who came on early for Ben Moon. The tighthead was taken down by the last defender but quick recycling saw the ball sent out to Launchbury who eased through a gap to score his first ever Six Nations try.

England almost secured the bonus point on the 20-minute mark when a Jack Nowell chip through was eventually grounded in the try area by Ben Youngs. However, initially, Youngs and Ali Price both competed for the ball which took the slightest of touches off the England scrum-half so a knock on was awarded which gave Scotland an opportunity to clear their lines.

Farrell added three points a few minutes later and just before the half-hour mark, Jonny May secured the bonus-point try when Slade danced his way down the far touchline before dishing out an audacious no-look offload to May who had the easiest of run-ins.

England Scotland Six Nations

Farrell converted to give England a 31-0 lead after 30 minutes.

Scotland got a much-needed lifeline on 35 minutes when a Farrell kick in the Scottish half was blocked down by Stuart McInally. The Scottish hooker collected the ball and sprinted all the way to the English line as he evaded a tackle attempt from May.

Eight minutes into the second half, Scotland got their second try of the game when Darcy Graham bounced off a few tackles to touch down in the corner. Finn Russell was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt with England’s lead now at 31-12.

England Scotland Six Nations

The momentum stayed with Gregor Townsend’s men when a Price chip was collected by the scrum-half and he offloaded in the tackle to Magnus Bradbury who ran a superb line as he scythed his way through the English defence to touch down under the posts.

An initial 31-0 lead after 30 minutes was now cut to 31-19 and Scotland had the wind in their sails.

England Scotland Six Nations

The momentum continued, as with the clock approaching the 60-minute mark, Graham showed his scintillating pace in the far corner to get over the try line before Elliot Daly could muster a tackle. Laidlaw’s conversion was wide of the posts and now England’s original 31 point lead had been cut to just seven points.

Twickenham was stunned into silence soon after when a Farrell pass was picked off by Russell. The Racing 92 man sprinted clear to score under the posts and more importantly, level the game.

A major talking point occurred on 66 minutes when Farrell collided with try-scorer Graham. Initial replays looked like Farrell’s shoulder collided with the Scot but referee Paul Williams decided that the England out-half didn’t lead with the shoulder so only a penalty was awarded.

Greig Laidlaw attempted a kick at goal from the resulting penalty but it drifted wide of the posts so the game was finely poised going into the last 10 minutes.

With five minutes to go, Scotland continued their remarkable second-half performance when Russell sent Sam Johnson through a gap and the centre produced a stunning step to get around the last defender to score under the posts.

England were stunned but they launched one last attack with the clock in the red which saw replacement George Ford score under the posts to salvage a draw.

England Scotland Six Nations

England: Elliot Daly; Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May; Owen Farrell (Ford 70′), Ben Youngs; Ben Moon (Genge 5′), Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler (Cole 51′), Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Mark Wilson (Shields 62′), Tom Curry, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Dan Cole, Brad Shields, Nathan Hughes, Ben Spencer, George Ford, Ben Te’o.

Scotland: Sean Maitland (Hastings 68′); Darcy Graham, Nick Grigg (Harris 57′), Sam Johnson, Byron McGuigan; Finn Russell, Ali Price (Laidlaw 58′); Allan Dell (Reid 45′), Stuart McInally (capt) (Brown 57′), Willem Nel (Berghan 61′), Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist (Gray 57′), Sam Skinner (Strauss 57′), Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Simon Berghan, Jonny Gray, Josh Strauss, Greig Laidlaw, Adam Hastings, Chris Harris.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter