England vs Scotland LIVE rugby: Six Nations 2023 result and reaction as Duhan van der Merwe settles thriller

England’s new era under Steve Borthwick got off to a inauspicious start as two brilliant tries by Duhan van der Merwe helped a tenacious Scotland to a thrilling 29-23 victory at Twickenham in a superb Six Nations opener.

Scotland twice led in the first half with a try by Huw Jones and a spectacular 60-metre effort by Van der Merwe, who carved through five defenders. England hit back with two for recalled winger Max Malins then edged 13-12 ahead at half-time with a penalty by Owen Farrell.

It continued to swing in a high-energy second half as Ellis Genge barged over for England, with scrum-half Ben White quickly slipping through for Scotland’s third try to keep it as a one-point game heading into the final quarter.

A penalty apiece kept it that way until Scotland put together a superb attack to send an unstoppable Van der Merwe over in the corner four minutes from the end to retain the Calcutta Cup.

Follow live reaction from England vs Scotland below:

Six Nations 2023: England vs Scotland

  • FULL TIME! Scotland win Calcutta Cup thriller with another memorable win at Twickenham (ENG 23-29 SCO)

  • 75’ TRY SCOTLAND! Van der Merwe strikes again with brilliant finish as Scotland retake lead (ENG 23-29 SCO)

  • 69’ PENALTY SCOTLAND! Russell answers Farrell to set up thrilling finish (ENG 23-22 SCO)

  • 64’ PENALTY ENGLAND! Farrell from close range after Scotland miss huge chance (ENG 23-19 SCO)

  • 51’ TRY SCOTLAND! White slips through as visitors quickly strike back (ENG 20-19 SCO)

  • 48’ TRY ENGLAND! Genge crashes over as hosts stretch lead after half time (ENG 20-12 SCO)

  • 43’ PENALTY ENGLAND! Farrell finally converts a kick and the hosts lead at the break (ENG 13-12 SCO)

  • 38’ TRY ENGLAND! Another for Malins and it’s a tidy finish out wide (ENG 10-12 SCO)

  • 29’ TRY SCOTLAND! This is very, very special from Van der Merwe try, pure magic (ENG 5-12 SCO)

  • 24’ TRY ENGLAND! Magic from Marcus Smith and Max Malins gathers the kick for the score (ENG 5-7 SCO)

  • 16’ TRY SCOTLAND! Huw Jones latches on to the pass and finishes well (ENG 0-7 SCO)

  • REPORT: Dominant Ireland outclass Wales in perfect start to Six Nations in Cardiff

Duhan van der Merwe lights up Twickenham as Scotland snatch win over England

Saturday 4 February 2023 19:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Duhan van der Merwe ensured Steve Borthwick’s England reign was launched with an agonising defeat after the Scotland rugby wing crossed twice in a Calcutta Cup classic at Twickenham.

Van der Merwe plundered his decisive second try in the 74th minute as Scotland came from behind to record a 29-23 victory in their Six Nations opener.

The marauding Lions wing had already brought Twickenham to its feet with a stunning first-half score that began in his own half and saw five would-be tacklers beaten by his speed, strength and footwork.

While a magnificent solo score, it exposed a failing in England’s defence that was a recurring theme in the afternoon’s main indicator of a team playing under a new regime for the first time.

But overall it was a promising start to the Borthwick era as they performed with the speed and purpose that was missing in the latter stages of Eddie Jones’ time in charge, before running out of steam in the closing stages.

Duhan van der Merwe lights up Twickenham as Scotland snatch win over England

Match winner Duhan van der Merwe speaks to ITV

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“We came here wanting to start the campaign on a high. After the first half, we knew we had more in us and came out for the second half with a bang and managed to get the win over England so we are buzzing.

“They scored quite early and we knew we had to stay in the fight and we got some points on the board and responded. As a winger you don’t get a lot of opportunities to score so I needed to take them.

“I was quite surprised how I got my first [try] but I will take that one all day long. We spoke about getting our first win of the Six Nations and next week we need to take some confidence from that.”

Scotland retain the Calcutta Cup

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The English fans have made a quick exit so it’s a hearty Scottish roar that accompanies Jamie Ritchie’s hoisting of the Calcutta Cup. Two Twickenham wins in a row for Gregor Townsend’s team of history-makers.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

F/T: England 23-29 Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A number of positives for England, with the attack showing signs to encourage home supporters and a number of standout individual showings, but Kevin Sinfield’s defensive structures clearly need much, much more bedding in. Scotland were able to create holes whenever they had chances in the England half - 30% territory converted into 29 points shows both how clinical the visitors were and how easy they at times found it to breach the English line.

Four tries for Scotland, so it’s a five point win, too.

F/T: England 23-29 Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

They’ve done it again! Two Twickenham wins in a row for Scotland, with the Auld Enemy beaten thrice in succession for the first time in 51 years. And how they deserved it, ever dangerous in attack with Duhan van der Merwe to the fore, and defensively stern enough to retain the Calcutta Cup.

Steve Borthwick’s first game in charge of England ends in defeat.


Saturday 4 February 2023 18:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England 23-29 Scotland, 79 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Can the maul get a rumble on? No, fine work from Scotland in the tight. To the forward carriers, then, after Jpe Marchant tries his luck to little avail.

Inside ball from Marcus Smith to Ben Earl...penalty to Scotland! The Saltires wave, the Scottish voices roar - Owen Farrell barks at the referee that there were players on the wrong side but that will seal it!

England 23-29 Scotland, 77 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That could be a crucial conversion. England will need a seven-pointer of their own to snatch it. Marcus Smith threatens to open a fissure, but is hauled back. Anthony Watson puts on some footwork but has his dance abruptly cut short.

Penalty England! Scottish hands in the ruck and into the corner the hosts will go...

TRY! England 23-29 SCOTLAND (Duhan van der Merwe try, 75 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Duhan van der Merwe is over again to put Scotland in front!

It’s briliant from Scotland. England are offside twice in the movement but it matters not as the visitors sweep right and then left with fluent, fabulous rugby. A long ball over the top allows Kyle Steyn a chance to stretch his legs on the right, with Scotland down into the England 22.

Back to the left, Fraser Brown and Richie Gray providing the sharp hands and Van der Merwe neatly stepping inside to use the bulk of his frame to score his second. Finn Russell adds the extras.

England 23-22 Scotland, 72 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Out on the full! Finn Russell shakes his head and his chasers cry foul as the fly-half thuds a punt up the right, but TMO Brendon Pickerill is content after a quick look that the kick had not quite managed to land in the field of play. England lineout on halfway, and the possession is quickly kicked deeper into the Scottish half.

England 23-22 Scotland, 71 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Penalty to Scotland! England had built pressure shrewdly with a pair of kicks into the corners of the Scottish 22 and are able to attack from 30 metres out, but Ollie Chessum seals off the contest at a midfield ruck and is rightly penalised as Fraser Brown looks to contest.

England 23-22 Scotland, 70 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland swap in George Horne at scrum half, with Ben White delivering some final instructions to his replacement as the two cross paths and embrace. A tense hush falls as England restart play on the right.

PENALTY! England 23-22 SCOTLAND (Finn Russell penalty, 68 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Finn Russell answers England’s penalty with one of his own.

England 23-19 Scotland, 66 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A penalty to Scotland on halfway and up towards the England 22 they go. Blair Kinghorn replaces Stuart Hogg at full back.

Maro Itoje is offside and Scotland have a free shot. Finn Russell kicks for Kyle Steyn...just out of reach! The cherry-picker didn’t quite extend far enough, Steyn agonisingly close to claiming with the line in sight but unable to grasp.

PENALTY! ENGLAND 23-19 Scotland (Owen Farrell penalty, 65 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Some significant strapping around his head proves no impediment for Owen Farrell. England extend their lead as Anthony Watson replaces Ollie Hassell-Collins.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England 20-19 Scotland, 63 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Jamie Ritchie very nearly wins a turnover as England play inside the Scotland 22. Stuart Hogg twice nearly gets to Ben Youngs, on at scrum half for England, at the base of a ruck, with England unable to force any quick ball.

Hogg strikes at the third attempt, but there are hands in the ruck that follows. England penalty.

England 20-19 Scotland, 62 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Welcome back, Daniel. Jamie Bhatti is under immediate pressure from Dan Cole, with the tighthead’s first involvement in more than three years fittingly the earning of a scrum penalty.

England 20-19 Scotland, 61 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Farrell goes down again and gets some strapping on his head. It looks like he’ll continue, but there are changes elsewhere: Dan Cole makes an appearance in an England shirt for the first time since the 2019 World Cup final, joined in the front row fray by Mako Vunipola as Ellis Genge departs after a busy evening that has included seventeen carries.

Nick Isiekwe is on, too, for Ben Curry.

England 20-19 Scotland, 60 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Worries for England as Owen Farrell goes down and grabs his head after a tackle on Duhan van der Merwe, and more worries too as Scotland make pretty pictures up the right!

Stuart Hogg tosses infield...through the hands of Kyle Steyn and knocked on! Oh, how Scotland could rue that, two other blue shirts in support with English defenders rather less apparent.

England 20-19 Scotland, 59 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A new front row for Scotland: Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti and Simon Berghan on, and Jack Dempsey in the back row, too.

England 20-19 Scotland, 58 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

More fun stuff from England in attack. Owen Farrell attacks the line with Max Malins for company, Saracen to Saracen and the latter half through a hole. Ollie Chessum shows prominently and effectively once more, but Farrell and Marcus Smith end up both tied up in a ruck, and the hosts attack somewhat loses momentum. Smith tries to re-gather it with a trademark shimmy and skip to the outside, but is driven into touch.

England 20-19 Scotland, 57 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A fascinating England change: Ben Earl on in Alex Dombrandt’s place. They’ll lose a fair bit of height and muscle, but boy is Ludlam, Curry, Earl a dynamic trio.

The ball bounces free into Scottish hands and Finn Russell launches to the heavens, kicking across to Kyle Steyn’s wing but over-cooking it. Out on the full.

England 20-19 Scotland, 55 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 18:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s a mightily intriguing little game, this. Scotland are finding ways to score every time they have the ball in the England 22, which is nullifying the territorial advantage that the hosts continue to enjoy.

Jack van Poortvliet lifts a box kick too far behind the Scottish defence, Stuart Hogg shooing it over the dead ball line in relative comfort.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

TRY! England 20-19 SCOTLAND (Ben White try, 51 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An opportunistic score from the Scottish scrum half! England largely handle the Scottish carriers but get themselves in a muddle when the ball bobbles inadvertendly away from a ruck. Ben Curry is torn between going for the ball and tackling Ben White, and ends up doing neither, allowing White to shed him rather easily, step by Freddie Steward and cross for the score.

Finn Russell’s conversion brings the gap back down to a single point.

England 20-12 Scotland, 50 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A basic error from England, shelling the restart to grant Scotland an immediate opportunity to answer. Ben White will inseert the ball into a scrum on the right.

TRY! ENGLAND 20-12 Scotland (Ellis Genge try, 48 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ellis Genge crashes over!

Potency and power from England and they capitalise on the territory. Alex Dombrandt, withheld in midfield hits a hard angle back towards the lineout, winning the gainline comprehensively. Genge carries firmly before Ben Curry rumbles to a metre short.

The backs demand the ball on the right but Jack van Poortvliet opts left for his old Leicester skipper, and Genge has punch aplenty to ground between Scottish bodies. Owen Farrell adds the extra two.

England 13-12 Scotland, 46 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Richie Gray then enters from the side as England try to form a rare maul. Marcus Smith’s right boot directs his forwards down into the Scotland 22.

England 13-12 Scotland, 46 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England win a penalty at the scrum, WP Nel turning in under pressure from Ellis Genge.

England 13-12 Scotland, 45 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ollie Hassell-Collins receives some treatment on a lower limb ailment, hopping about to test the readiness of the leg for competiton. England’s debut wing will be able to continue, and positions himself on the blindside wing as Jack van Poortvliet prepares to feed a scrum.

England 13-12 Scotland, 44 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A lineout throw tumbles off the fingertips of Ollie Chessum at the tail and Ben Curry is penalised in retreat at the ruck.

England 13-12 Scotland, 43 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ollie Hassell-Collins arcs dangerously, showing his easy speed as he strides to the outside and nearly slips an offload away. England have an advantage with which to play, and Owen Farrell prods for a chasing Max Malins, who nearly again uses his right boot intelligently to capitalise.

Slightly surprisingly, referee Paul Williams deems that England have used their advantage, and Scotland are free to clear.

England 13-12 Scotland, 41 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

No half time changes for either side.

England haven’t mauled much so far, and again play away from the lineout, Lewis Ludlam shed from the back of a feigned drive and ferrying the ball to the backs. Three phases go nowhere and then it is to the air, with Scotland taking the kick nicely.

Second half...

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The players re-emerge, and Finn Russell gets proceedings back underway.

H/T: England 13-12 Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Even enough at the interval, with the hosts just nudging ahead with that Owen Farrell penalty. Two tries apiece: one for each side created by a crafty kick and another of more extravagant construct, with Duhan van der Merwe marauding most magnificently through the heart of the English defence before the hosts produced an excellent ensemble piece.

England have had more of the ball and territory, but Scotland have defended firmly and looked threatening each time they’ve had possession in advanced positions.


Saturday 4 February 2023 17:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

PENALTY! ENGLAND 13-12 Scotland (Owen Farrell penalty, 43 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Over it goes. A point in it at the half, which feels about right.

England 10-12 Scotland, 42 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:28 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A lovely lineout variation, Lewis Ludlam looping to the front to take Jamie George’s pop and nearly able to return an offload to the hooker, but finding the path for the pass blocked. It matters not as Ollie Chessum, who has had a bright first half, is soon stomping up the left touchline George had occupied.

England’s decision to play on is vindicated as the referee awards a penalty that should allow Owen Farrell to send his side down the tunnel ahead...

England 10-12 Scotland, 40 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England win a breakdown penalty with the clock in the red. What appetite to play on? Some, it seems, with the ball kicked directly for touch.

TRY! ENGLAND 10-12 Scotland (Max Malins try, 38 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A wonderfully constructed English response!

This has Nick Evans’ paws all over it, England playing creatively and with speed, challenging the Scottish defence in different ways. Joe Marchant lurks on the blindside, choosing his moment to arrive on the inside shoulder of a fading Owen Farrell, who puts his centre partner through a gap.

Scotland condense as Marchant s tackled, with Farrell back in the line to add extra hands on the outside. Ollie Chessum pulls back to Ellis Genge, who ships beyond Farrell to Freddie Steward, and Lewis Ludlam’s are the final linking digits required to send Max Malins in for a second.

England 5-12 Scotland, 35 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England are on the wrong side of Paul Williams at the scrum, first warned and then penalised as they again struggle to control their hit.

England 5-12 Scotland, 32 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England have been intent on kicking as much as they can but that is the peril if you don’t get your chase right. Even so, Kevin Sinfield will not be pleased - those were five tackles he’d have backed his defenders to make.

TRY! England 5-12 SCOTLAND (Duhan van der Merwe try, 29 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That is a truly sensational solo score! One of the great Twickenham tries from a rampaging Duhan van der Merwe!

The great juggernaut of a wing lurks menacingly just inside his own half, collecting an infield pass and setting off. The pistons begin to fire and up through the gears he goes, one English tackler swatted aside, then another, then another. Two more try and fail to halt him, Alex Dombrandt sent away with an emasculating shove as Van der Merwe goes over.

England 5-7 Scotland, 28 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:13 , Jack Rathborn

An outstanding tackle from Owen Farrell! The England centre cuts Finn Russell in half as he breaks to the outside and forces a fumble on the floor.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

England 5-7 Scotland, 27 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Maro Itoje fails to support his own body weight as he contests at a Scottish ruck near halfway. A chance for the visitors to attack from a lineout inside the England 22.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

TRY! ENGLAND 5-7 Scotland (Max Malins try, 24 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Chipped delicately and Max Malins scores!

That’s a lovely finish. Scotland had held out way for 12 phases but just begin to narrow as England look to their backs. A pull back pass finds Marcus Smith, whose passing options are cut off by the hard outside blitz of the Scottish defence, but the fly half is wise to the space left beyond them, lifting across for Malins to slide and pat down.

Owen Farrell’s first opportunity from the tee flies errant.

England 0-7 Scotland, 22 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We’ve seen plenty of inventive tap moves recently but this isn’t one of them, Ellis Genge first testing the hinges of the front door; they are appropriately fixed. England lose control and a bit of momentum, but keep the ball and begin to build up towards double-digit phases...

England 0-7 Scotland, 20 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Magic from Max Malins! A Finn Russell kick slices into apparent aspace and Malins is forced to improvise, controlling his volley magnificently. He follows up, knocking the ball by a flat-footed Stuart Hogg before collecting himself and suddenly England have a chance.

Ollie Chessum strides towards the line and England earn a penalty. Back they will come for it after the hands fail them on the right - and Ellis Genge will tap quickly...

Six Nations 2023: England 0-7 Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:05 , Jack Rathborn

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

England 0-7 Scotland, 19 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Howls of frustration around Twickenham as Jamie George misses his man at the lineout. This hasn’t been quite the start the home fans were hoping for.

England 0-7 Scotland, 17 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England really were parted rather easily from that lineout. It was well executed by Scotland, throwing long over the top to create extra linking hands and pull at loose English threads, but Jones had great open acreage into which he could gallop.

TRY! England 0-7 SCOTLAND (Huw Jones try, 15 minutes)

Saturday 4 February 2023 17:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Huw Jones loves playing England!

Talked up as a big game player by Gregor Townsend this week, the centre has another try against the Auld Enemy,

It’s a lovely assist from his centre partner, Sione Tuipulotu taking a looping pass and dropping it swiftly to his right shoelaces, nudging a little nibbler towards the vacant English line and allowing Jones the simplest of touch downs.

Finn Russell converts - that’s not the finest of starts for Kevin Sinfield’s defence.

England 0-0 Scotland, 14 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Cracks in the English defence and Scotland exploit them! Far too easy for the visitors and Huw Jones strides merrily up the centre.

Advantage coming and Scotland building...

England 0-0 Scotland, 11 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Owen Farrell re-introduces himself to Finn Russell’s midsection, the England captain’s timing fine as he connects firmly.

Ollie Hassell-Collins hasn’t seen much ball yet, but performs his wing work well here, kicking smartly into space up the centre of the field and then leading the chase to earn a territory win for England.

England 0-0 Scotland, 9 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England do electe to keep ball in hand for slightly longer this time, but have their explorations ended when the TMO picks up a neck roll by Freddie Steward at a ruck.

England 0-0 Scotland, 8 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The common thought this week was that England were going to kick plenty today and, yep, that seems to be the early plan. Encouraging numbers on the right are ignored in favour of another of those prods beyond the Scottish defence, but it travels much too far and Scotland are able to dot down.

England 0-0 Scotland, 6 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Both front rows roar their delight after the scrum goes down, but again Paul Williams is content with a reset, requesting that both packs elevate slightly before the engagement.

Up pops WP Nel’s head like a startled seal; England had put weight on too soon and are free kicked.

Six Nations 2023: England 0-0 Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:52 , Jack Rathborn

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

England 0-0 Scotland, 4 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Possesion for England in the Scotland half as Max Malins slaps the ball back after the ball bounces free. England attack the blind side, but run out of room and lose control of the ball. Scotland’s scrum feed.

England 0-0 Scotland, 3 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The second go is stable, all 16 men locked out and forcing Scotland to play. They do, switching back to the left with Huw Jones prodding up the line.

Biff! Freddie Steward puts a tackler on his behind with a powerful charge.

England 0-0 Scotland, 2 minutes

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The opening scrum skirmish and down it goes. “Just a poor hit,” says the referee Paul Williams, attributing no blame.


Saturday 4 February 2023 16:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Smith lifts into the darkening Twickenham sky to a great roar and we are underway!

Match officials

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England will kick things off. An all New Zealand officiating team today - Paul Williams with the whistle and Brendon Pickerill in the TMO truck and the wo most prominent names to know.

Marcus Smith has the ball. It’s Calcutta Cup time!


Saturday 4 February 2023 16:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A few isolated voices lend their weight to “Flower of Scotland”, piped ever elegantly. A first ever Six Nations rendition of “God Save the King” draws more widespread support from the stands.

Out come the players

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Jamie Ritchie and Owen Farrell stare ahead, desperate not to lock eyes as they front the lines in the tunnel. The Scotland captain jogs out, he and the rest of his squad in full tracksuits; England shunning the longer garments and largely in shorts.

New man in charge

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Calcutta Cup

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The players have disappeared back into the Twickenham bowels to the strains of Jersualem, delivered by a tenor in an Englnad shirt somewhere in the stands. Perhaps reflecting a day of extended lubrication that always pleases the pubs in these parts, the stands aren’t even yet half full as the masses make their way around the concourses.

England vs Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This is almost certainly Gregor Townsend’s farewell Six Nations as Scotland boss, with the former fly half close to guaranteed to be headed for pastures new after the World Cup. Townsend has this week slightly downplayed Scotland’s long-awaited win here two years ago, which came, of course, behind closed doors. There are no caveats today - the challenge for Townsend’s men is clear against an England team with plenty to prove.

I’m excited to see this backline go - a midfield of Finn Russell, Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones can threaten in so many ways and England’s defence will surely need time to gel under Kevin Sinfield.

Team News - Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Equally fun is the Scottish selection, with Gregor Townsend not afraid to shake things up as he eyes more Calcutta Cup success. Jamie Ritchie leads a side picked, it would seem, to fly, with plenty of attacking vigour and verve looking for consecutive Twickenham wins.

Injuries mean Zander Fagerson and Hamish Watson haven’t quite made it in the pack, so old-stager WP Nel mans the tighthead while Luke Crosbie, who has produced some outstanding performances of late for Edinburgh, occupies the openside shirt.

Ali Price misses the 23, with Ben White and George Horne preferred at nine on form, while there’s a surprise demotion to the bench for Chris Harris. That sees Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones paired in the centres – a partnership able to provide diverse and considerable threat.

There will be a Six Nations debut for Jack Dempsey if the former Australia international gets off the bench. Townsend noted this week that prop depth is an ongoing concern; if the game is tight come the final quarter, Jamie Bhatti and Simon Berghan will be key.

Team News - England

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

New era, new England? Sort of, Steve Borthwick stressed on Thursday after naming his first side as head coach that he had picked his first 23 on form. It’s a team with plenty to prove, with new and returning faces complementing the carry-overs ought to right the wrongs from the end of the Eddie Jones era.

Jamie George has come through his return to play protocols to take his place in the heart of the front row, while Ollie Chessum is an eye-catching pick alongside Maro Itoje in the second row. With no Tom Curry due to injury, Borthwick turns to the next best thing – twin brother Ben wears seven.

Injuries to Henry Slade and Dan Kelly rather forced the new head coach’s hand with regard to his playmaking axis. Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell are together, again, and England simply must get more out of their double-act. What impact might Joe Marchant, picked ahead of Manu Tuilagi, have on the midfield combinations?

There are a pair of debutants, too, with Ollie Hassell-Collins rewarded for his all-round improvement and strike-running potency with a start on the wing, and Jack Walker set to earn his first cap off the bench. The front row finishers replacements also include Dan Cole, who is delighted to be back amongst things with a chance to craft a more fitting farewell to international rugby than his Yokohama demolition in the 2019 World Cup final.

England XV: E Genge, J George, K Sinckler; M Itoje, O Chessum; L Ludlam, B Curry, A Dombrandt; J van Poortvliet; M Smith; O Hassell-Collins, O Farrell (capt.), J Marchant, M Malins; F Steward.

Replacements: J Walker, M Vunipola, D Cole, N Isiekwe, B Earl; B Youngs, O Lawrence, A Watson.

Twickenham boos ‘definitely’ hurt England players, says Owen Farrell

Saturday 4 February 2023 16:00 , Jack Rathborn

Owen Farrell has said that being booed off by home fans after the defeat to South Africa “definitely” hurt as England prepare to return to Twickenham.

The 27-13 loss to the Springboks closed a disappointing autumn campaign for England, with home supporters voicing their displeasure at the full time whistle after a meek display.

The defeat precipitated the departure of head coach Eddie Jones, with Steve Borthwick installed as the Australian’s replacement.

Re-installed as England captain under the new head coach, Farrell is preparing to lead England in their Six Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday.

Farrell: Twickenham boos ‘definitely’ hurt England players

Gregor Townsend explains reasons for dropping Ali Price

Saturday 4 February 2023 15:52 , Jack Rathborn

Gregor Townsend has backed Ali Price to bounce back strongly from his omission from the Scotland rugby 23 for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup showdown with England.

The 29-year-old scrum half has been a mainstay throughout the head coach’s five-and-a-half-year reign, winning 58 caps since his debut in 2016.

However, Price has struggled for form at Glasgow this season and has lost the No 9 jersey to London Irish’s Ben White for this weekend’s Six Nations opener at Twickenham.

“Ali and I have worked together for a number of years and he has been very good for us over that period,” said Townsend.

“We chatted a week ago about how it was important he improved, whether that was just through training or getting game time with Glasgow at the weekend. He’s very aware of that too.

Gregor Townsend explains reasons for dropping Ali Price

Six Nations 2023: England vs Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 15:50 , Jack Rathborn


Steve Borthwick insists omitted Manu Tuilagi’s England career is not over

Saturday 4 February 2023 15:44 , Jack Rathborn

Steve Borthwick shook Manu Tuilagi by the hand and said that his international career was not over – after he dropped him for England’s Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland.

Tuilagi, a veteran of 50 caps and a regular choice for the Red Rose for much of the past decade, was not even named in Borthwick’s 23-man squad as England’s head coach laid down an emphatic marker with his new-look maiden side.

Joe Marchant takes the 31-year-old Tuilagi’s place in the England line-up, with Marcus Smith and captain Owen Farrell to resume their contentious playmaking axis for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham.

Steve Borthwick insists omitted Manu Tuilagi’s England career is not over

England ready to match Scotland’s passion, says Richard Cockerill

Saturday 4 February 2023 15:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Richard Cockerill insists England are ready to match Scottish passion in Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash as they aim to launch the Steve Borthwick era with a triumph at Twickenham.

His stint at Edinburgh ended slightly unpleasantly but England forwards coach Cockerill remains a resident of the Scottish capital, and was on typically good form yesterday running through two sides (and a fixture) he knows well. Cockerill has had an odd winter: briefly interim head coach to keep things ticking as England transitioned from Eddie Jones to Steve Borthwick, the 52-year-old was the one member of the coaching staff to remain in his role as a fellow former Leicester head coach arrived.

The alliance is likely to be brief – the ex-hooker is expected to head to Montpellier in the summer, with Saracens’ Ian Peel identified as the man Borthwick may wish to oversee the scrum come the World Cup, but for now Cockerill remains, and stressed on match eve that England are very much up for the Calcutta Cup.

England ready to match Scotland’s passion, says Cockerill

Eddie Jones makes England vs Scotland prediction ahead of Six Nations opener

Saturday 4 February 2023 15:31 , Jack Rathborn

Former England head coach Eddie Jones insists containing Finn Russell holds the key to relieving Scotland of the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham on Saturday.

Jones was involved in seven editions of the Six Nations before being sacked in December in response to a dire 2022 and his overall record against Scotland reads three wins and a draw in seven meetings.

The 63-year-old is backing England to win by three points with Owen Farrell kicking the decisive penalty, but he believes the Scots’ fate lies in the hands of their mercurial fly-half Russell.

Referencing the Lions playmaker’s stormy relationship with his head coach Gregor Townsend, Jones views his presence as offering the potential for death or glory for Saturday’s underdogs.

Eddie Jones makes England vs Scotland prediction ahead of Six Nations opener

Jamie Ritchie believes Scotland consistency key to Six Nations challenge

Saturday 4 February 2023 15:24 , Jack Rathborn

Jamie Ritchie insists Scotland are searching for the elusive consistency that has prevented them from challenging for the Six Nations title in recent seasons.

Gregor Townsend’s men opened the 2021 and 2022 tournaments with important wins against England, sparking a wave of optimism over their chances of lifting the crown for the first time since 1999.

Two years ago they also toppled France in Paris, proving their finest moments were not saved for the Auld Enemy alone, but they have been repeatedly thwarted when attempting to string big wins together.

It is a shortcoming that stalks their entry into the 2023 Six Nations and Ritchie, who leads the side in the Championship for the first time against England on Saturday, knows what is required.

Jamie Ritchie believes Scotland consistency key to Six Nations challenge

England start new era by relying on old failure

Saturday 4 February 2023 15:17 , Jack Rathborn

England fans who thought, or maybe hoped, the start of the Steve Borthwick era would spell the end of the seemingly doomed Marcus Smith-Owen Farrell combination that came to define the demise of Eddie Jones’s tenure will be in for a shock when seeing the starting XV for Saturday’s Six Nations opener against Scotland.

There, at fly half, is the name Marcus Smith, with Owen Farrell in the No 12 jersey outside him. Cue mass panic and social media hand-wringing over the return of this most unpopular of experiments.

Smith-Farrell was the 10-12 axis that brought down the Jones regime. It was supposed to be a cheat code in attack, a way of squeezing two elite fly halves into the team as a double-playmaker pivot to create an unpredictable, unstoppable force. It unequivocally failed.

The autumn Tests just gone saw Jones’s “unicorn” trio of Smith, Farrell and Manu Tuilagi finally line up as the 10-12-13 alignment, with the potential of England’s innovative attacking structure set to be finally unlocked.

England start new era by relying on old failure

Six Nations 2023: England vs Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 15:11 , Jack Rathborn

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Six Nations 2023: England vs Scotland

Saturday 4 February 2023 14:59 , Jack Rathborn

Welcome to Independent Sport’s live coverage of England vs Scotland at Twickenham.

It’s Steve Borthwick’s first game in charge since replacing Eddie Jones in December.

The drastic action is designed to provide a spark for the Red Rose in what is a massive year of international rugby.

The Six Nations ought to provide a preview of just what England are capable of with the World Cup now just seven months away.

Stay tuned for live build-up to England Scotland, while you can take in the closing stages of Wales vs Ireland here.