EDINBURGH – Former Stormers centre Huw Jones scored two tries as Scotland produced a huge upset to beat Six Nations champions England 25-13 at Murrayfield on Saturday.
It was Scotland’s first victory over their oldest rivals in a decade and just England’s second defeat in 26 Tests under Australian coach Eddie Jones, with Ireland now the only side left in this season’s Six Nations who can complete a Grand Slam.
Scotland had not scored a try against England at Murrayfield in 14 years before Saturday’s match but, with flyhalf Finn Russell pulling the strings, they ran in three in the first half of a remarkable Calcutta Cup clash.
Jones crossed twice and Sean Maitland also went over as the Scots surged into a 22-6 lead at halftime and never looked back.
The always fiery nature of this fixture was reflected by BBC reports of a pre-match scuffle in the tunnel between England’s Owen Farrell and Scotland’s Ryan Wilson.
Scotland were unchanged from the side that beat France 32-26 last time out, with the mercurial Russell retained in the starting XV by coach Gregor Townsend.
England, coming off a hard-fought 12-6 win at home to Wales, made one change with the fit-again Nathan Hughes replacing the injured Sam Simmonds at No 8.
Greig Laidlaw kicked Scotland into an early lead with a third-minute penalty after England infringed at a ruck.
But England replied in kind through Farrell’s 14th-minute penalty – a kick greeted with boos by the home crowd, who by that stage would have been aware of the tunnel fracas.
Scotland had not scored a try against England at Murrayfield since wing Simon Danielli went over in 2004.
But that miserable run came to an end in the 15th minute when Scotland drove a maul into the 22, with England perhaps expecting Russell to kick possession away and opt for the penalty after referee Nigel Owens’s outstretched arm indicated the visitors had infringed.
But instead Russell took the bolder course, his well-weighted grubber kick causing panic in England’s defence and bounced kindly for outside centre Jones, who dived on the loose ball for a try under the posts, which Laidlaw duly converted to make it 10-3.
Farrell’s second penalty cut the deficit but there was no doubt England were being harried by Scotland’s high-tempo approach, skipper John Barclay leading the way in defence with a turnover.
Russell then twice played a key role in creating Scotland’s second try in the 31st minute
His long pass from just outside the 22 released Jones, who sprinted clear before being tackled by wing Jonny May.
Scotland recycled possession and, off the back of a ruck, Russell’s cut-out ball sent left wing Maitland in at the corner.
Laidlaw missed the tricky conversion, but Scotland led 15-6.
And just before halftime, the Scots brought a capacity crowd at Murrayfield to its feet with their third try when Jones burst through England’s midfield and held off the despairing tackles of fullback Mike Brown and wing Anthony Watson before going under the posts, with Laidlaw adding the simple conversion.
Farrell cut the deficit to nine points early in the second half with a try off a pass from Care that the inside centre duly converted.
England thought they were about to score their second try when Care intercepted a loose pass from opposing scrumhalf Laidlaw and sprinted clear, but referee Nigel Owens penalised England lock Joe Launchbury for slowing the ball at the preceding ruck.
England had another ‘try’ disallowed when Farrell was denied after replays showed flanker Courtney Lawes had knocked on in the build-up when tackling Russell.
England then found themselves a man down with 14 minutes left when Sam Underhill was sin-binned for an illegal shoulder charge on opposing replacement Jamie Bhatti.
Laidlaw kicked the ensuing penalty to give Scotland a 12-point cushion before brilliant ruck defence on his own line by Scotland hooker Stuart McInally forced a turnover penalty.