England and Scotland draw Calcutta Cup thriller

Adam Kyriacou

A late George Ford converted try denied Scotland a famous come-from-behind Calcutta Cup win at Twickenham in a contest that finished 38-38.

It was a quite stunning 80 minutes on Saturday as the Scots appeared to have done the unthinkable when they came back from 31-0 down to go 38-31 in front with four minutes remaining on the match clock. But with time up in the clash, Ford had other ideas to save English blushes.

England‘s other try scorers were Jack Nowell, Tom Curry, Joe Launchbury and Jonny May while for Scotland Stuart McInally, Darcy Graham (2), Magnus Bradbury, Finn Russell and Sam Johnson crossed in a match high on entertainment, bringing down 2019’s Six Nations curtain in style.

England were rampant from the off and raced into that big lead after half-an-hour courtesy of five crossings as Scotland were on the ropes.

They got the ball rolling with one minute played when slick handling and decoy runners allowed Henry Slade room to feed Nowell who finished well, cutting back inside off the right wing nicely. Owen Farrell added the conversion and it wouldn’t be long before the tee was on again.

Their second came seven minutes later as a penalty nudged into the corner led to Curry burrowing over from a line-out rush to make it 14-0.

England were motoring and the only negative from the early stages was an injury to Ben Moon that saw him replaced by Ellis Genge. The prop was immediately into the action and his carry and combination with fellow front-row Kyle Sinckler created Launchbury’s score on 14 minutes.

Farrell would then add a penalty to his conversion on 25 minutes as the lead was stretched to 24 points before a quickly taken penalty saw Slade race down the left wing before throwing a lovely inside pass to May who finished with ease. Scotland looked in danger of a hammering.

Fortunately for Gregor Townsend’s men they would get on the board before half-time when McInally showed good pace to cross from 60 metres, this after he charged down Farrell’s attempted cross-kick. The busy hooker intelligently changed his angle of running to get over in time.

Crucially for Scotland’s hopes of a revival they also scored first after the break when Graham finished well for 31-12 after good handling. That was added to when Bradbury raced over on 51 minutes as suddenly Scotland had pulled themselves back into the match at just 31-19 down.

Indeed the match had now turned on its head at Twickenham and when the lively Graham raced over on 57 minutes on the right wing, Scotland had themselves a try bonus point to their name as it was now the English who were reeling, with head coach Eddie Jones stunned in his seat.

Amazingly, the game was tied at 31-31 on the hour when Russell intercepted Farrell’s loose pass before running under the posts from distance and the stunning comeback looked to be complete on 76 minutes, Johnson bouncing off would-be tacklers en route to the line for a 38-31 lead.

But England somehow managed to pick themselves up off the canvas and Ford’s last ditch try salvaged a draw to end an unbelievable meeting.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries: Nowell, Curry, Launchbury, May, Ford
Cons: Farrell 4, Ford
Pen: Farrell

For Scotland:
Tries: McInally, Graham 2, Bradbury, Russell, Johnson
Cons: Russell 2, Laidlaw 2

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 George Kruis, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 George Ford, 23 Ben Te’o

Scotland: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Sam Skinner, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Allan Dell
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Chris Harris

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)