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Van der Merwe hat-trick retains Calcutta Cup for Scotland

MATCH REPORT: Duhan van der Merwe scored a hat-trick as Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup and keeps their Six Nations dream alive.

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Scotland outscored England by three tries to two for a 30-21 win at Murrayfield on Saturday – a victory that allowed them to overtake their rivals in second place in the standings.

England, after racing into a 10-0 lead and their blitz defence causing Scotland all kinds of troubles, soon found themselves under pressure.

Van der Merwe scored two quick tries to put the hosts in the lead and then it was game on – with Scotland taking a 17-13 lead into the half-time break.

The South African-born flyer completed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half.

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Van der Merwe inflicted yet more pain on England, as Scotland came from behind to win.

Scotland were 0-10 down early on but, inspired by their dashing wing, they bounced back with a third-round win that ended England’s bid for a Grand Slam.

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Victory meant Scotland had won four games in a row against England for the first time since 1972 as they retained the Calcutta Cup.

Scotland fell behind after a try by recalled England fullback George Furbank and a penalty by George Ford.

But Scotland staged a couple of smash-and-grab raids on England’s 22 as Van der Merwe went over twice before half-time to leave the hosts 17-13 ahead at the interval.

Early in the second half, Van der Merwe’s third try – his 26th for Scotland leaving him one short of Stuart Hogg’s national record – put the Dark Blues in command.

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Finn Russell scored Scotland’s other 15 points, the flyhalf and co-captain faultless off the kicking tee.

The win saw Scotland rebound from an agonising loss to France last time out and put them back in title contention with two wins from their opening three games after they started their Six Nations campaign with a dramatic 27-26 win away to Wales.

England wore black armbands as a mark of respect following the death of captain Jamie George’s mother.

A team showing five changes following a narrow 16-14 win over Wales, saw Furbank surprisingly recalled by England coach Steve Borthwick in place of Freddie Steward in a bid to give the side an extra attacking edge.

It took Furbank just six minutes to justify Borthwick’s faith as he opened the scoring with a well-worked try off a scrum.

Ford delayed his pass perfectly to send Elliot Daly through a gap and he in turn released the supporting Furbank.

Flyhalf Ford converted and his 15th-minute penalty made it 10-0.

Scotland, having struggled initially with England’s rush defence, hit back with a fine try against the run of play in the 20th minute.

Sione Tuipulotu’s flat pass at first receiver released onrushing fellow centre Huw Jones.

Jones sped into England’s 22 and, although hauled down, popped the ball up to Van der Merwe who went in after a neat dummy.

Russell’s conversion cut England’s lead to 7-10.

Van der Merwe put Scotland ahead on the half-hour mark, despite his pack struggling up front.

Furbank lost possession in midfield, with Scotland immediately going wide and there was no stopping Van der Merwe as he sped down the left touchline.

Russell converted and Scotland, who had been 0-10 down, now led 14-10.

That became 17-10 thanks to a Russell penalty after what was only Scotland’s third visit to England’s 22.

Ford, however, reduced England’s deficit to four points with a well-taken drop-goal and Scotland led by four points at the break.

Scotland, however, pulled further clear just five minutes into the second half.

Russell’s kick was charged down but replacement Cameron Redpath collected the loose ball, spun out of contact and burst through England’s unsettled defence.

Redpath was hauled down but, after Scotland recycled possession, Russell’s pinpoint grubber kick was expertly regathered at pace by Van der Merwe, who went in at the corner.

Russell duly converted before an exchange of penalties between Ford and his opposing flyhalf left Scotland in command at 27-16 heading into the final quarter.

England replacement wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso went over for his first Test try 13 minutes from time but it was too little too late for the visitors.

The scorers

For Scotland
Tries: Van der Merwe 3
Cons: Russell 3
Pens: Russell 3

For England
Tries: Furbank, Feyi-Waboso
Con: Ford
Pens: Ford 2
DG: Ford

Yellow card: Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland, 78 – foul play, lifting tackle)

Teams

Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell (co-captain), 9 Ben White, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge (co-captain), 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Andy Christie, 21 George Horne, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Cameron Redpath.

England: 15 George Furbank, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Ethan Roots, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George (captain), 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 George Martin, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Chris Busby (Ireland), Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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