Finn Russell netted a penalty eight minutes from time to earn Scotland a narrow 20-17 victory over England on Saturday as they benefited from a penalty try and a yellow card for the visitors to face a nervy Six Nations clash.
Scotland, who led 10-6 at half-time, were leading 10-17 when they were awarded a penalty try after England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie fended off a high cross pass. He was sent to sin bin for 10 minutes. It proved the turning point as with the man advantage Scotland won a late penalty to snatch victory at Murrayfield and lift the Calcutta Cup for a second consecutive year.
But Scotland were forced to hold on for a nervous success as England chased victory in the closing stages, denied by handling errors as errors crept in amid fatigue. Ben White scored Scotland’s other try while all of England’s points came from fly-half Marcus Smith, who scored a fine try and wasted no time in imposing his skill on the Six Nations.
Scrum-half White made a dream debut, replacing Ali Price after 12 minutes with a head injury, and completing a sweeping counter-attack initiated by Stuart Hogg but set up by Darcy’s rattling movement and acceleration Graham before White ran for the game’s opener. Russell converted the score and added a long-range penalty on the stroke of half-time as a dynamic Scotland entered the break.
But England made it 10-9 thanks to a 48th-minute Smith penalty – his third of the game – and took the lead five minutes later, with their forwards driving the ball up before Ben Youngs does pop it for Smith, running a perfect line, only to crash for the try. Another penalty from Smith extended the score to 17-10, but Scotland were back level when Cowan-Dickie’s madness gave them a lifeline.
He was trying to stop a high cross kick landing in the arms of unmarked Graham on the Scottish wing, but his action in kicking the ball forward only left referee Ben O’Keeffe nowhere else. choice but to award a penalty try and send him on for a crucial period when Scotland regain the upper hand. (Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond)
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