Guinness Six Nations 2023 Rugby Coverage

Scotland Retains Calcutta Cup With Six Nations Victory Over England

Scotland Retains Calcutta Cup With Six Nations Victory Over England

Scotland defeated England for the fourth time in a row to retain the Calcutta Cup in round one of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations tournament.

Feb 4, 2023 by Philip Bendon
Scotland Retains Calcutta Cup With Six Nations Victory Over England

Scotland travelled to Twickenham in search of a fourth consecutive victory over England and with-it retention of the Calcutta Cup. 

In perhaps one of the finest displays of Rugby Union we have seen for quite some time, Scotland emerged victorious 29 – 23 courtesy of a late Duhan van der Merwe try. 

The try would be van der Merwe’s second of the contest with his first score likely to go down as one of the greatest tries in Calcutta Cup history. 

For new England head coach Steve Borthwick, the loss will sting given his side held the lead with just over five minutes to play. 

Despite the loss, there will be several positives for England to take away having shown more attacking prowess in eighty minutes than they have for the past two seasons. 

To the fore was flyhalf Marcus Smith who pulled the strings masterfully. Showcasing his full arsenal of attacking tricks, from clever kicks to sniping runs and well-timed passes, Smith looked assured in new attack coach Nick Evans’s game plan. 

Elsewhere the new backrow trio of Ben Curry, Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt offered a new dimension to the England attack as they roamed the wider channels with authority. 

In the engine room, secondrow Ollie Chessum looks to be the real deal alongside Maro Itoje with the two forming a dynamic partnership that will suit England’s new up-tempo game. 

On the flip side, Scotland will leave with the idea that on any given day they are capable of beating just about any team in the world. 

The challenge for Gregor Townsend and his side will be backing up this performance with consistent showings and crucially victories over the coming weeks. 

Next up they will face a Welsh team who are hurting from what was a rather embarrassing loss at home to Ireland.

Looking lethargic for the first forty minutes, the Welsh rebounded somewhat in the second half and will head to Murrayfield with redemption on their mind. 

Great teams capitalise on results like today, for Scotland to take that next step a dominant victory over Wales, a side they have struggled with in recent times is a must. 

Failure to do so would be a missed opportunity to bank log points given they still have the top two sides in the world still to come with a trip to Paris being followed by a battle with Ireland in Edinburgh. 

To beat either of those two sides, a performance like today is a necessity. Seeing Finn Russell back to his confident best alongside the exciting talent that is Ben White at scrumhalf was a significant development today. 

The two players complement each other well with White possessing a lightening quick pass, sniping running game and masterful box kicking ability that takes pressure off the maverick talent of Russell. 

Outside of Russell would appear that the Scots have a settled on a centre combination with Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones combining masterfully. 

The duo punched holes in the English defensive line seemingly at will as they linked up beautifully with the dangerous back three of Stuart Hogg, Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn. 

In perhaps the most pleasing development, Scotland more than held their own in the forward exchanges. Leading the charge was the secondrow combination of Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrest who were both sublime throughout. 

The confidence gained from yet another victory over a side that has historically had their number will be invaluable for the rest of the Championship. 

As touched upon both Ireland and France await as true tests of where this Scotland side is in the World pecking order. A victory over one or both would certainly send shockwaves around the rugby world.

Written by Philip Bendon