Calcutta Cup 38-38

March 23, 2019

A Point A Minute

It’s taken a week to get my head around this fixture. What on paper should have been such a one-sided affair, became nothing like it. When people talk about something being a ‘game of 2 halves’ they should cite this match as the example to use. Watching England running in a point a minute for the first half hour, 31-0 didn’t bode well for the Scots. Reminders of the 61-21 thrashing in 2017 were no doubt in the minds of the kilted following. The World Cup opponents would be watching this game to assess how good England are and see if Scotland have improved at all. The final score of this game was something nobody would have dreamed of, especially after the half hour mark. I’d expect the bookmakers had a really good day thanks to this scoreline.


England This Season

England were my choice to lift this cup this season. First round they went to Dublin on 2nd Feb and demolished the Irish in their own backyard. Leading 10-17 at half time, England had played well enough to gain the upper hand. The final score of 20-32 with the bonus point for scoring 4 tries ( May, Daly and Slade with a couple ) sent the warning out to the other teams, that England were coming for them.

The next round saw France battered 44-8 at Twickenham, another bonus point win with Jonny May scoring 3 tries for himself.

The 23rd Feb saw the England machine ground to a halt and beaten by the Welsh in Cardiff. Wales scored 21 points to Englands 13, so not even a losing bonus point in this match. This was not what the punters were expecting, as we reported here. After Wales had scraped home by 5 points against France in the first round, they had improved significantly to play England.

Against Italy, service was resumed. An impressive 31-7 half time lead meant the win was on the cards. Tries rained in from George, May, Tuilagi (2), Shields (2), Kruis, Robson and the final score of 57-14 meant the points difference was expanding further in the table.

Sat 16th March 2019 was the day that could have proved a game changer. Ireland had to win against Wales in Cardiff, not impossible but wouldn’t be easy. England just needed to beat Scotland and England would win the Guinness 6 Nations. So Wales decided that they didn’t like this, and Ireland were their next victim. Ireland looked clueless as we discussed here.

England set off out of the blocks like a bat out of hell, once again storming into a 31-7 lead by the break.


Scotland This Competition

First game was at home against Italy. A Half time lead of 12-3 didn’t give much indication which way the match was going to end. The final score of 33-20 and a bonus win with tries from Kinghorn (3), Hogg and  Harris made for a good start to the campaign, however the second half score of 21-17 showed a weakness in their second half defences. The following week saw Ireland visit Murrayfield. A close first half was too close to call at 10-12, but the second period saw Ireland come away with a deserved win at  13-22.  France next in Paris, with an average looking French team looking to bounce back. The first half was quite evenly balanced, 10-3 to France at half time. The second half saw French fans happier as they won 27-10, the bonus point for 4 tries much needed.

Wales at home and the low scoring game saw Wales run out winners 11-18, the Scots holding Wales to just 3 points in the second half. The HT score of 6-15, indicating this was going to be quite a close game. No doubt Englands 57-14 demolition of Italy will have caused concern in the Scotland camp.

So the Calcutta Cup, Scotland at the home of England rugby and it’s half time and the score is 31-7…..


Calcutta Cup Second Half

I am not sure what happened here. You have a powerful team such as England 31-7 up, coming back out of the dressing room and the stadium are expecting them to follow up and run another 10, 20 or 30 points past the hapless Scots. Well let me say, this was NOT the case. The wheels fell off the England bandwagon, the ideas faded, they looked void of concepts and ideas. Play making decisions were lacking, there was one team in this half who wanted to win, were determined to score and they were in Blue shirts.

As Scotland ran in an amazing 38 unanswered points at the ground they had not won for over 25 years since 1983, there was a sudden astonishment as to what people were seeing here. England were well and truly battered, both physically and mentally.

The belief here that England could throw away a game like this was slowly becoming a reality as Scotland racked up points, after points after points and took the lead. With the clock ticking down, Eddie Jones and the England staff looked shell shocked. On the Scotland staff faces, a wry smile was seen from Gregor Townsend on a couple of occasions at least. It was George Ford who came to England’s rescue, running in the final try to save the blushes. Finn Russell for Scotland was outstanding but the whole Scotland team must be applauded for the second half recovery. Scotland may have not had a great six nations, but they retained the Calcutta Cup, so have the bragging rights that they at least picked up a trophy this time around.

From an English perspective, with the World Cup coming up, this has to be a worry that you can concede 38 points in 40 minutes to end up in a losing position. There will be few countries who will go behind against England by 25-30 points after the first half as it is, but those who do should not be allowed back into the game like this.

Scotland faces Ireland in the World Cup, and also the hosts Japan, Samoa and Russia. Based on this Calcutta Cup performance, there’ll be no team in the group to worry them.

For more information including upcoming fixtures, please go to and we’d like to thank them for borrowing their photo above.


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