Calcutta Cup 2021: Five iconic matches as England host Scotland in Six Nations opener

The contest at Twickenham will mark the 150th anniversary of rugby’s oldest fixture

Duncan Bech
Friday 05 February 2021 11:10
George Ford scores England’s final try in a classic against Scotland at Twickenham in 2019
George Ford scores England’s final try in a classic against Scotland at Twickenham in 2019

England host Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday to kick off their Six Nations defence while also celebrating the 150th anniversary of the oldest fixture in international rugby.

It's the Calcutta Cup, but the game will take place in strange circumstances, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the country currently in lockdown.

Eddie Jones made some intriguing selections with his picks for both the team to take on Scotland, as well as the squad, but the Australian maintains the "sprint" nature of the tournament has pushed him to make certain calls.

"We're really looking forward to this game and getting the Six Nations back underway. It's even more special to be taking part in a 150th anniversary game, it will be a good occasion," Jones said.

"It was difficult to pick the 23 players. We've had a really good week of training, it's been very competitive but I've gone with what I feel is the strongest 23 for this week.

"The Six Nations is a short tournament, it's a real sprint so we'll need to be on the front foot straight away. We know Scotland will be raring to go - but so will we."

READ MORE: Six Nations 2021: Fixtures, dates, kick-off times and full match schedule

Here, PA dive into five of the most iconic games between the sides over the years:

Scotland 1-0 England - Raeburn Place, 1871

A crowd of 4,000 gathered in Edinburgh to watch the first international rugby match and the birth of a fierce rivalry that endures until this day. Each team fielded 20 players and under a radically different scoring system the Scots prevailed by one goal with both teams scoring a solitary try. Scotland entered the game as underdogs, thereby setting the tone for much of the next 150 years.

Scotland 1-1 England - Raeburn Place, 1879

By now the numbers had been reduced to the more recognisable 15-a-side, including a pack of 10 forwards, and the Calcutta Cup was at stake for the first time. The oldest rugby trophy of them all, it was forged out of melted down rupees by The Calcutta Football Club in India and presented to the Rugby Football Union. England were the first to win it in 1880 after the meeting a year earlier ended in a hard-fought draw.

Scotland 6-9 England - Murrayfield, 1991

A nail-biting and hostile World Cup semi-final that will forever be remembered for Gavin Hastings' missed penalty with the score tied 6-6 late in the game. Less than 20 metres out and just wide of the right post, the usually unflappable Hastings' kick sailed off target and Rob Andrew went on to land the winning drop-goal to seize victory for England. Hastings has since said he believes Scotland would have won the World Cup had they dispatched the Auld Enemy.

READ MORE: Six Nations 2021: Five players who could light up tournament

Scotland 19-13 England - Murrayfield, 2000

One of two Grand Slam fails in Edinburgh sandwiching the dramatic victory in 1991, England were incapable of nullifying the brilliance of fly-half Duncan Hodge, who scored all of his side's points including a try in torrential rain. Scotland had lost all four previous games of the maiden Six Nations Championship and had been written off against Sir Clive Woodward's team, adding to the euphoria over the victory.

England 38-38 Scotland - Twickenham, 2019

One of the most remarkable fixtures in Test history would have produced possibly the greatest comeback of them all had Scotland not been denied by an injury-time George Ford try. Down 31-0, Finn Russell inspired a stunning response that swept the Scots 38-31 ahead until Ford intervened with the last play of the game.

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