Six Nations greatest games: England and Scotland share the spoils in EPIC 2019 draw

Six Nations: England celebrate scoring against Scotland in 2019. Credit: Alamy
Six Nations: England celebrate scoring against Scotland in 2019. Credit: Alamy

The 2023 Six Nations is creeping ever so closer as we near the opening round that is loaded with blockbuster fixtures.

In anticipation of the start of the tournament that is made that much more intriguing by the Rugby World Cup looming later in the year, Planet Rugby takes readers back to some of the greatest games the Six Nations has produced.

Setting the tone is an absolute thriller between England and Scotland at Twickenham in 2019, where somehow the scores ended level at 38-38.

Red Rose steamed out of the blocks

England took charge of the game from the outset, putting together a simple backline move that ripped open the Scottish defence before Henry Slade laid it off to Jack Nowell on the right wing, who danced inside, beating several defenders to score in only the second minute. Owen Farrell added the extras to add to the dream start.

Only six minutes later, the Red Rose was again in a great position, smelling blood in the water. A neat lineout move gave England a strong set in the maul, and Tom Curry crashed over for his first try at Twickenham. Farrell was on hand to rub salt in the wound with the extra two.

The floodgates were now well and truly open as England crossed over again in the 13th minute after Kyle Sinckler broke the line a man possessed. However, it was second-row Joe Launchbury who reaped the rewards in scoring on the right side. Once again, Farrell added the conversion whilst also kicking a penalty in the 25th minute.

It would only get from bad to worse in the 29th minute as Ben Youngs took a cheeky quick tap just inside Scottish territory before flinging out to Slade, who found space on the left-hand touchline. The centre turned provider yet again, only this time with a sumptuous ball out the back of the hand to the flying Jonny May. Bonus-point secured before half an hour on the clock. As expected, Farrell nudged the kick over to secure a mammoth 31-0 lead.

Scottish surge

Scotland skipper Stuart McInally became the first player to finally stand up for his team as he charged down a Farrell kick, collected the ball and ran more than 60 metres to score a sensational converted try in the 35th minute. The hooker showed outrageous pace as he streaked towards the line.

The momentum suddenly shifted completely in Scotland’s favour as they were first over in the second half only seven minutes after the break. Lovely interplay between Ali Price, Finn Russell and Sam Johnson forced them close to England’s line before the ball was flung out to Darcy Graham, who showed incredible footwork to skip through the defensive line and over.

Russell would miss the conversion, but it was no bother as only minutes later, Price had a moment of genius where he chipped over the defensive line, collected the ball and played a lovely ball into Magnus Bradbury, who stampeded through for a lovely try. Russell made no mistake from the tee this time round to take the score to 31-19 after 51 minutes.

The Scottish assault continued in the 56th minute when Russell floated a ball wide after a simple backline move to Sean Maitland, who shovelled it onto Graham, showing tremendous pace on the outside to get his team within a converted try. 31-24 with 20-odd minutes to go.

Immediately after the try, Russell caught Farrell napping, intercepting one of the Englishman’s passes to coast through under the post. Scores LEVEL.

Then the unthinkable happened. Johnson received a short ball from Russell and had plenty to do, 40 metres out with defenders everywhere, and somehow the centre managed to wiggle through and bust over the line to amazing take the lead in the 76th minute. Veteran Greig Laidlaw nudged the ball over to take the scores to 38-31 to Scotland with little time left.

As if the game did not already have enough drama, England was deep in Scottish territory with the clock in the red. The visitors had defended well, but when the ball came out to George Ford, the fly-half sneakily took a gap on the defender’s inside shoulder to score a converted try and save the game for England. 38-38 final score. What a thriller.

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