Scrum Sevens
Auld enemies
March 11, 2010
England captain Steve Borthwick lifts the Calcutta Cup
England captain Steve Borthwick lifts the Calcutta Cup after his side's victory over Scotland at Twickenham last year © Getty Images
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Scrum Sevens: Le Grand Chelem
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: England | Scotland

There's plenty to be said for history and tradition in rugby. The Six Nations is brimming with rivalries cultivated over countless seasons, and several that have blossomed in recent years. The oldest dates back to 1871 and the first international fixture of them all.

England travel to face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday with the Calcutta Cup on the line and plenty of pride at stake following faltering starts to the Six Nations. In our latest Scrum Seven we take a look back at the highs and lows of a rivalry as old at the Test match itself.

Scotland 1G-0G England, Raeburn Place, March 27, 1871

The first rugby international arose from a challenge laid down in Bell's Weekly by the Scottish clubs. Their aim was a 20-a-side contest against a team "selected from the whole of England". The challenge was ignored by much of the football community but accepted by Blackheath, who raised a team.

Blackheath's Frederic Stokes led them to Raeburn Place, home of Edinburgh Academicals, where 4,000 fans arrived to see history being made. A conversion, with tries providing only the means to kick at goal, from Scottish halfback William Cross settled the game. There was confusion over a number of the rules, with Scotland's second try scored after the ball was knocked on and fallen on by Cross's halfback partner John Arthur. This was accepted practice in Scotland but not in England, although a real dispute failed to materialise as the conversion was missed.

Scotland 6-9 England, Rugby World Cup semi-final, Murrayfield, October 26, 1991

Rob Andrew's late drop-goal at Murrayfield brought England a 9-6 victory over Scotland in the first semi-final of the Rugby World Cup. The English booked their place in the final at Twickenham having traded Grand Slams with the Scots in 1990 and 1991, with their forwards taking the plaudits.

Andrew's drop-goal followed two penalties by fullback Jon Webb but there was heartbreak for a Scottish hero. Gavin Hastings slotted two kicks, but missed a vital third from in front of the posts at 6-6 to hand victory to England. England were fresh from their infamous quarter-final victory over France at the Parc des Princes but could not continue their march. They lost to Nick Farr-Jones' Australia in the final while Scotland failed to overcome New Zealand in the bronze medal match.

Scotland 13-7 England, Five Nations, Murrayfield, March 17, 1990

Scotland's Grand Slam-clinching performance began with David Sole leading them onto the field at a slow march, with the Murrayfield crowd reacting with an electrifying rendition of Flower of Scotland. The home side had used the same starting XV throughout the tournament and were up against an England side also in search of a clean sweep.

England had been in fine form, racking up 11 tries and 83 points in their previous three games. The pivotal moment came amid vitriolic screams from the home crowd as Tony Stanger latched on to Gavin Hastings' chip through to score early in the second-half. Roared on, Scotland dug in and repelled everything that England could throw at them.

Scotland 3-6 England, Home Nations, Murrayfield, March 20, 1937

England's 1937 Home Nations Triple Crown season was powered by their skipper and fullback, Tuppy Owen-Smith. Owen-Smith, though, was far from your garden variety England skipper.

An excellent lightweight boxer, he also cracked 129 against England in a cricket Test match for his native South Africa at Headingley in 1929. Born in Cape Town, he returned to England on a Rhodes Scholarship to study medicine at Oxford in 1930 and won Blues in cricket and rugby. In 1937 he captained England in all of their Home Nations Tests, including their title-clinching 6-3 victory at Murrayfield. Wingers Jimmy Unwin and Harry Sever were the villains for the home crowd, both scoring tries to seal the Triple Crown after England had defeated Wales 4-3 and Ireland 9-8 in London.

Scotland 18-30 England, Five Nations, Murrayfield, March 15, 1980

Bill Beaumont's England ended a long wait with this victory. It was the final piece of their Grand Slam puzzle, having failed to produce a clean-sweep for 23 years. In front of a big Murrayfield crowd England wing John Carleton proved to be irrepressible, scoring a hat-trick of tries.

His final score was a 60-metre breakaway which secured the Grand Slam for his side and the first hat-trick by an English player since 1924. "I chased a Paul Dodge kick and caught it, leaving me 60 yards to sprint for the line," he recalled. "I was thinking, 'This is our day, here I am just about to score my third try in a Grand Slam game'."

Scotland 33-6 England, Five Nations, Murrayfield, February 15, 1986

Gavin Hastings, in his third Test match, kicked a record 21 points as Scotland routed England 33-6 at Murrayfield, their biggest victory in the history of the fixture. Hastings' brother, Scott, scored one of three Scottish tries, with fly-half John Rutherford and wing Matthew Duncan also breached the English defence.

The Scots were left to rue their second-round defeat to Wales, ending the tournament tied at the top with France and forced to share the Championship spoils after missing out on a Triple Crown

England 43-3 Scotland, Six Nations, Murrayfield, March 3, 2001

England had emerged as poor losers after slumping to another Grand Slam failure at Murrayfield in 2000, retreating to their changing room and keeping Princess Anne waiting to present the Championship trophy. There was no such worry as they collected the Calcutta Cup in 2001, having smashed their rivals at Twickenham

The 43-3 scoreline is the biggest in the history of England-Scotland clashes and set up another tilt at the Grand Slam, although they again fell short in the final game, this time against Ireland in Dublin. Lawrence Dallaglio and Iain Balshaw both scored two tries apiece at Twickenham, though, with Will Greenwood and Richard Hill scoring one each as England continued to show promise ahead of the 2003 Rugby World Cup.


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