Player Ratings: Invincible aura tainted
OPINION: The 125th edition of the Calcutta Cup played out today and, with little surprise, it duly delivered a fascinating rugby spectacle.
Scotland ended their long wait for the trophy, beating England 25-13 at Murrayfield, inflicting upon England just their second loss under Eddie Jones.
For England, it will herald two weeks of introspection, as they examine just why they were second best right across the field in Edinburgh.
Alex Shaw rates the England players!
15 Mike Brown
An errant pass when Anthony Watson had an overlap, a missed tackle on Huw Jones for his second try and a quiet performance, in general, was not the response Brown wanted to his excellent showing against Wales at Twickenham. Made an impressive try-saving tackle on Sean Maitland in the second half in England’s bid to salvage the game.
14 Anthony Watson
Did well to get out of trouble when pinned inside his own 22 and facing three Scottish defenders but was feeding off scraps for much of the game. Could have done better when Jones broke through the English defensive line for his second score, but did redeem himself with a busy second half, where he looked for work throughout.
13 Jonathan Joseph
Outshone by his opposite number in Edinburgh, with few opportunities to influence the game and his usually excellent defensive work made to look less effective by the marauding Jones.
12 Owen Farrell
Of all the English backs, Farrell was most noteworthy, thanks in part to the more regular ball he received. Ran a nice line for his try and was proficient as a ball-handler throughout, but didn’t manage to control the game as well as he did against Italy or Wales.
11 Jonny May
Like Watson, May was feeding off scraps for most of the game. One of the few times he got involved in the game, he was stood on the touchline as he received the ball.
10 George Ford
The fly-half struggled with his kicking in the first half, failing to find touch or space and delivering the ball down the throat of the Scottish players. He couldn’t pull the strings in the way his opposite number did, and it was largely a game to forget for Ford.
9 Danny Care
Care struggled again to exert the control on the game from the opening minute that Ben Youngs regularly does. His neat kicking game, which regularly catches opposition sides out, was nowhere to be seen at Murrayfield. Did make a precise wider pass to send Farrell through for England’s opening try, though.
1 Mako Vunipola
Not quite the dominant and energetic performance that he turned in during the opening two rounds of the tournament. Scrummaged well but couldn’t keep England moving forward in the same way he did in previous games.
2 Dylan Hartley
Hit his jumpers on all seven of his lineout throws and captained well, particularly when he made referee Nigel Owens aware of Scotland being offside at a ruck. Defended efficiently in the loose, without offering too much in attack.
3 Dan Cole
The tighthead looked to have benefitted from the scrummaging session against the Georgian pack and anchored the English scrum well at Murrayfield. Didn’t have too much influence in the loose, however.
4 Joe Launchbury
The Wasps man couldn’t match the work rate and impact he had against Wales. His carrying was largely nullified and his defensive work, with England trailing for most of the game, wasn’t enough to deliver them momentum or swing the result. Conceded a couple of costly penalties, too.
5 Maro Itoje
A couple of powerful carries early caught the eye, but he couldn’t keep up that impact throughout the game. Like most of the English pack, he struggled to dislodge Scottish fetching threats such as John Barclay, Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist.
6 Courtney Lawes
A needless penalty in the second half for kicking the ball out of the scrum-half’s hands aside, Lawes stood out among the rear five forwards. He was the go-to lineout option, particularly when England were under pressure inside their own 22, and delivered a couple of his trademark thumping tackles during the game. He also pressured the Scottish throw on multiple occasions and disrupted well at the maul.
7 Chris Robshaw
It wasn’t a bad performance from Robshaw, but with England chasing the game, it was not a scenario he was built for. His tireless defensive work, without being a consistent threat to turnover ball, wasn’t particularly suited to getting England the scores they needed to win the game.
8 Nathan Hughes
A hit and miss game on his return from injury. He looked dangerous with ball-in-hand, if a bit tentative when running from deep, but seemed off the pace in the defensive line and Scottish ball-carriers targeted space and dog legs around him.
16 Jamie George
Fluffed his first lineout throws in his previous two games but nailed his jumpers at Murrayfield. Struggled to involve himself in the loose as much as you would expect of him.
17 Joe Marler
The English scrum stuttered late on following the arrival of WP Nel and there were few opportunities for Marler to make an impact.
18 Harry Williams
Like Marler, Williams had few opportunities to influence the game, but he was hungry for work and popped up as a carrier multiple times.
19 George Kruis
Came on late and had little time to impact the game.
20 Sam Underhill
Won a turnover at the breakdown with his first action of the game and tackled ferociously. Mitigated this by making a no-arms tackle and getting himself yellow carded minutes later.
21 Richard Wigglesworth
Came on late and had little time to impact the game.
22 Ben Te’o
A couple of strong carries but by the time he came on, England were looking to get out and around Scotland, needing two scores to change the result, something which doesn’t suit his game.
23 Jack Nowell
Looked busy after coming on but frequently ran himself into defenders and confined spaces. Impressive footwork, but it was not enough to cause Scotland’s defence any problems.
By Alex Shaw, Rugbypass