Three key things from England v Scotland
SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: Scotland ended a 38-year wait with a gritty 11-6 Six Nations victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday.
AFP Sports looks at three pivotal things from the match:
Russell – the good, the bad and the ugly
Finn Russell brings a whole box of tricks but while sometimes he creates magic, sometimes the wizardry fails to come off. The first-half reflected that.
While his opposite number Owen Farrell, who has hardly played this season, looked rusty, the 28-year-old Scottish playmaker orchestrated the pressure his team exerted.
But just as Farrell started coming into the match, so Russell showed the other side of his game, his attempted trip on Ben Youngs in the 38th minute could have been a turning point.
It gave Russell 10 minutes in the sin bin and handed England three points. His rueful smile at the yellow card contrasting with the shake of the head by Scotland coach Gregor Townsend.
Russell was fortunate his team-mates did not concede any more points in his absence.
On his beautifully timed return, he slotted over the penalty that put Scotland 11-6 up.
As Farrell faded, Russell resumed his playmaking duties with aplomb.
He missed another penalty attempt and had a drop goal blocked but in the end he could breathe a sigh of relief that his moment of madness had not allowed victory to slip from the team’s grasp.
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England pay the penalty
Scotland’s success at unsettling England was reflected in the hosts conceding penalties right from the start.
Maro Itoje charged down a couple of Alli Price kicks, but fell foul of the referee Andrew Brace when caught offside.
Brace’s patience finally wore out and Billy Vunipola was sin-binned.
Even his sin-binning did not spark the English and Brace issued another warning in the second-half that he would not stomach much more infringing or someone else would be warming the bench for 10 minutes.
In all, England gave away 15 penalties and were fortunate that the Scots did not punish them more with points but ultimately the poor discipline robbed England of momentum and possession.
Redpath – like father like son
Cameron Redpath grew up wearing a Scotland shirt and watching his father Bryan playing for the national side – on Saturday he showed he had grown into the adult version with an assured debut.
The 21-year-old centre, who represented England at Under-20 level but finally opted for Scotland, displayed few nerves from the moment he picked up a loose ball and cleared from the Scots 22.
A couple of darting runs showed his attacking prowess and he slotted comfortably into the flyhalf position when Russell was sin-binned.
Redpath did not fade and came up with a crucial turnover with 10 minutes remaining, earning pats on the back from teammates.
Redpath’s impressive debut contrasted to his close friend and former England Under-20 centre partner Ollie Lawrence whose Six Nations debut for the hosts seemed to pass him by.
Lawrence was eventually withdrawn with 10 minutes remaining and will hope it was not a fleeting experience.
Redpath meanwhile will no doubt be receiving a call from a proud dad.