LONDON (AP) — Duhan van der Merwe scored an early contender for try of the tournament and went over for the match-clincher as Scotland beat England 29-23 in the Six Nations to continue its recent dominance of the Calcutta Cup on Saturday.
The winger’s 75th-minute try in the left corner sealed a fourth victory in Scotland’s last six matches against its auld enemy, ruining the first game in charge of England for new coach Steve Borthwick. It marked the first time Scotland has secured back-to-back wins at Twickenham in rugby’s oldest international fixture that dates to 1871.
But it was Van der Merwe’s stunning first try — scored in the 29th minute after he set off from inside his own half — that illuminated an error-riddled and often chaotic match between teams who mixed flashes of brilliance with enough failings to explain their status as outsiders for the title.
Van der Merwe burst through two players in England’s defensive line then shrugged off five would-be tacklers — including two weak efforts near the tryline — to go over for a sensational try that is unlikely to be bettered over the next seven weeks of action.
“As a winger you don’t get a lot of opportunities to score so I needed to take them,” he said. “I was quite surprised how I got my first but I will take that one all day long.”
Huw Jones set Scotland on its way with a 15th-minute try from fellow center Sione Tuipulotu’s grubber kick, only for England to reply with two tries by winger Max Malins in the first half and another from prop Ellis Genge after halftime.
England was its own worst enemy as it sought to eke out victory in the second half, with a dropped restart by No. 8 Alex Dombrandt after Genge’s try in the 49th giving Scotland the platform to reply through a try from Ben White — via a missed tackle by England flanker Ben Curry — and leave the boys in blue only 20-19 behind.
Owen Farrell’s penalty made it 23-19 but, again, England’s errors allowed opposite flyhalf Finn Russell to boot his own penalty to leave the Scots trailing 23-22 and give them hope.
Van der Merwe made the English pay with a winning try as he cut in off the left wing and through two challengers to score at the end of a sweeping move that began down the right and inside Scotland’s half.
Scotland is unbeaten on its last three trips to Twickenham, a stadium where England strolled to a string of unbroken, mostly comfortable wins from 1991-2017.
“We are ultimately disappointed — we just weren’t good enough,” England lock Maro Itoje said. “Fair play to Scotland. There were a few things we got wrong as a team but we can fix them.
“There were a few penalties in the middle third and that kept us in our half.”
There remains plenty to fix for Borthwick, who has taken charge after England’s seven years under Eddie Jones and with eight months to go until the World Cup.
“This is the first game of a new coach and campaign,” Itoje said. “We wanted a win and fell short. We have to stay positive.”
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