Calcutta Cup: Ordinary service resumes

Another year, another loss at Twickenham for Scotland in the Calcutta Cup — the fourth in a row in which England have scored 40 or more points, to boot. After last year’s win at Murrayfield, and given the appalling run of form for English rugby over the last 9 months or so, the Scots had reason to believe that they were in with a shout of a win… until Johnny Wilkson set them straight…

The Scotsman – Sport – Wilkinson masterclass prolongs Scots’ torment at Twickenham

In fact, an 11-minute period of the game was where it was all decided: the 48th to 59th minutes. It was a point in the game where Wilkinson, Harry Ellis, England’s revitalised scrum-half, and the dominating home pack peaked and scored 20 points to extract all the juice from the teams’ opening RBS Six Nations Championship match.

Damn the man! Who does he think he is, making an unexpected return from injury like that? And unexpected it was:

First round leaves pundits with egg on their face | International | Rugby Union | Sport | Telegraph

If you recall, there was a huge weight of opinion, though, smugly, it did not include me, that said Wilkinson should not have been selected; this included former England coach Andy Robinson and former captain Will Carling, and no one, repeat no one, predicted the almost flawless display from Wilkinson. The very fact that his reintroduction was virtually seamless is testament to what an extraordinary performance it was.

Sure, Scotland did not put him under any pressure, but that was squarely down to a powerful effort from a dominant England pack and in particular the tight five in the scrum and the back row in the loose In any event, for Wilkinson not to show the slightest rust was simply phenomenal.

And yes, Scotland were made to look poor, but did anyone suggest that before the game? No, the Scots believed it was possible to win. The hardiest of England supporters thought it would be a tough game, with a narrow home-team victory being acceptable as the first step on the road to rehabilitation.

Argh. However, since Scotland hasn’t won at Twickenham since before my voice broke (26 years in non-self-referential calendars), it’s hard to say that this result was entirely surprising.

Per usual, there are recriminations amongst Scots supporters about poor coaching, team selection, lack of fight, and so on. There are some decent players on the team, so perhaps they can yet set about a couple of decent results… or at least not losing to Italy.

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One Response

  1. from what i watched, scotland looked good at some points with some impressive fluid passing…for a bit. their passing was not good enough to sustain them and their organization didn’t offer any fallbacks. if you can’t completely follow through with the champagne rugby, switch to irn-bru rugby.

    there are many with a better eye than myself, but it would seem that they didn’t slow the english down enough, didn’t win the majority of line-outs (which i think is the most crucial part of the game), and conceded penalties. i know wilko has been out for a while, but i’m sure he was practicing his kicks…

    anyway, at twickenam, it would seem that you would want to disrupt and clog up england’s game before the lofty ambitions of forcing your own game onto the hosts.

    up the rugger! quite.

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