The 2022 Calcutta Cup clash between Scotland and England was always going to be one to watch. A packed out Murrayfield, buzzing with the return of fans was waiting in anticipation for a clash the English had only won once in the last four occasions. Eddie Jones had marked Scotland as favorites in his typically coy press conference but on paper and in form, they truly were.
Excitement only grew with the team announcements as Finn Russell was finally set to line up against the new English flyhalf, Marcus Smith. Two of the most exciting, ball-in-hand flyhalves in the game meant only one thing... running rugby. Whilst Russell is far more seasoned (59 caps), Marcus Smith has banged every door down. It was only last year that Smith, in the space of 3 weeks, managed to lead Harlequins to glory, obtain his 1st England Cap and was called up to join the British & Irish Lions in South Africa.
England marred by a number of injuries or enforced absences were lead into battle by new captain Tom Curry. For most of the game, England dominated both possession and territory but somehow Scotland were ahead on the scoreboard. The Scots by the 30th minute had only managed one possession in the English half, but with that they scored a try and were then able to mount a massive defensive effort to remain in the lead.
England edged ahead 17 - 10 through a try for Marcus Smith before Finn Russell began to pull the strings with a series of cross kicks started chewing up the field. A kick to the corner flag saw Luke Cowan-Dickie carded after he was adjudged to have slapped the ball into touch. A penalty try saw Scotland and England level up at 17 all, when Eddie Jones made a number of questionable substitutions.
Marcus Smith is a player who has proven BMT in the dying minutes of a game, removing him for George Ford hardly made sense. Scotland scored one more penalty and with Ford turning down a long ranger, it came down to the final scrum, reset a number of times, for England to try and snatch the draw with a penalty. A quick turn over though saw Scotland boot it to the stands and for the 1st time in four decades, the Scots have won back to back Calcutta Cup's.
Stuart Hogg and Matt Fagerson deserve special praise with the latter walking away with the man of the match award. Duhan van der Merwe also looked deadly with ball in hand whilst Hamish Watson continues to hold a massive influence in every game he plays.
In the other 6 Nations game on Saturday, Ireland outclassed Wales 29 - 7 in a game which saw Josh Adams carded for a controversial clash with Irish captain and flyhalf Johnny Sexton.
Now for France v Italy, kicking off this afternoon at 17:00.