A JUBILANT Gregor Townsend hailed his Scotland team’s resilience last night after they retained the Calcutta Cup with a 20-17 victory over England. It was the first time since 1984 that Scotland had won back-to-back games in international rugby’s oldest fixture, and they did it the hard way, fighting back after early pressure from the visitors.
“Being tough to beat is really important,” head coach Townsend said. “It usually defines championship-winning teams, a strong defence in any sport.
“We know our defence is really entwined with our attack. We’ve got some really dangerous attackers in our team who we want to give the ball to.
“Getting both of those sides of the game right is so important. But defence certainly helps you win those tight games.”
London Irish scrum-half Ben White had a dream debut for the home team at BT Murrayfield, scoring a first-half try just minutes after coming on as a temporary replacement for Ali Price. A penalty try followed after England hooker Luke Cowan was sinbinned for batting away a high ball that was destined for the arms of Darcy Graham, and Finn Russell chipped in with two penalties and a conversion of the White try.
England’s points – from four penalties and a try – all came from stand-off Marcus Smith. They will now try to revive their Six Nations Championship hopes when they visit Italy a week today [Sun 13], while Scotland meet Wales in Cardiff the day before.
In the one real down side of the afternoon, Jamie Ritchie was carried off the field and was later seen on crutches after sustaining what Townsend said was a hamstring and/or groin injury. The coach said he would not expect the Edinburgh flanker to be available for the Wales game, although there is a strong possibility that Ritchie will be absent for more than just a single match.