Six Nations kicks off with no fans in stadiums as England take on Scotland in an empty Twickenham

Scotland caused a major upset this evening as they beat fierce rivals England at Twickenham for the first time in 38 years on the opening day of the Six Nations.

They had to celebrate the rare away victory in a virtually empty stadium as lockdown continues to ban spectators at sports matches.  

Rugby fans instead watched from their homes as Scotland took first blood in southwest London and held on to close out a narrow 11-6 win.

Duhan van der Merwe crashed over the whitewash for the first try of the game before England captain Owen Farrell slotted two penalties to close the gap. 

But a clinical penalty from man of the match Stewart Hogg edged the victory for underdog Scotland over the defending champions.

Ahead of kick-off, the players of both teams lined up to mark the Rugby Against Racism campaign. The majority of England players took the knee, while the majority of Scots remained standing. 

The gesture, which has been adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement, continues to divide players across sport. 

The fixture between England and Scotland has traditionally been a fiery clash, with fraying tempers leading to dust-ups in the past. But the absence of Twickenham’s 80,000-strong crowd appeared to cool tensions.

Players of England take takes a knee in support of the 'Rugby Against Racism' campaign prior to the Guinness Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham

Players of England take takes a knee in support of the 'Rugby Against Racism' campaign prior to the Guinness Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham

Players of England take takes a knee in support of the ‘Rugby Against Racism’ campaign prior to the Guinness Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham

Scotland had to celebrate the rare away victory in a virtually empty stadium as lockdown continues to ban spectators at sports matches

Scotland had to celebrate the rare away victory in a virtually empty stadium as lockdown continues to ban spectators at sports matches

Scotland had to celebrate the rare away victory in a virtually empty stadium as lockdown continues to ban spectators at sports matches

Scotland caused a major upset this evening as they beat defending champions England at Twickenham for the first time in 38 years on the opening day of the Six Nations

Scotland caused a major upset this evening as they beat defending champions England at Twickenham for the first time in 38 years on the opening day of the Six Nations

Scotland caused a major upset this evening as they beat defending champions England at Twickenham for the first time in 38 years on the opening day of the Six Nations

Four Scottish players took the knee ahead of kick off in support of Rugby Against Racism

Four Scottish players took the knee ahead of kick off in support of Rugby Against Racism

Four Scottish players took the knee ahead of kick off in support of Rugby Against Racism

The Six Nations kicked off with no fans today with England taking on Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at an empty Twickenham stadium

The Six Nations kicked off with no fans today with England taking on Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at an empty Twickenham stadium

The Six Nations kicked off with no fans today with England taking on Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at an empty Twickenham stadium

Twelve England players and four Scotland stars took the knee at Twickenham while the rest remained standing. 

Billy Vunipola led a minority of England players who chose not to kneel ahead of kick-off.  The No8, of Tongan descent, was also one of three England players who refused to take the knee in England’s 40-0 win against Georgia in the Autumn Nations Cup in November last year.

Speaking at the time, he told The Good, The Bad And The Rugby Podcast: ‘A similar situation happened with the Black Lives Matter movement last week when we were asked if we want to take a knee or not.  

‘What I saw in terms of that movement was not aligned with what I believe in. They were burning churches and Bibles. I can’t support that. Even though I am a person of colour, I’m still more a person of, I guess, Jesus.’

Second row Courtney Lawes and hooker Luke Cowan Dickie also remained standing during the game tonight. 

Professional sport continues to be allowed to happen despite the strict third national lockdown still in force.

England were humbled on home turf today as Scotland won their first game at Twickenham for 38 years

England were humbled on home turf today as Scotland won their first game at Twickenham for 38 years

 England were humbled on home turf today as Scotland won their first game at Twickenham for 38 years

A clinical penalty from man of the match Stewart Hogg (centre, holding the Calcutta Cup) edged the victory for underdog Scotland over the defending champions

A clinical penalty from man of the match Stewart Hogg (centre, holding the Calcutta Cup) edged the victory for underdog Scotland over the defending champions

A clinical penalty from man of the match Stewart Hogg (centre, holding the Calcutta Cup) edged the victory for underdog Scotland over the defending champions

Last year’s tournament was abandoned ahead of the final round of matches as the pandemic started spiralling out of control. The remaining games were finally played in late 2020 and England were crowned champions. 

An eerie silence descended on Twickenham today, devoid of the fans and chants of Swing Low Sweet Chariot ringing round the stadium. 

But one spectator would have caught the eye of the players – Warren Gatland, head coach of the Lions, who is considering his selection picks for this year’s tournament. 

Earlier France trounced Italy by a stonking 50 points to 10 at a similarly quiet contest at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.   

Today’s England vs Scotland clash marked the 150th anniversary of the first ever rugby Test, which took place on March 27, 1871 in Edinburgh.

Prince Harry, the patron of English rugby, today commemorated the anniversary ahead of the game in a video from his Los Angeles home.  

The Duke of Sussex said the 'passion and enjoyment' of sport can bring comfort to people in the 'isolated' times we live in earlier today

The Duke of Sussex said the 'passion and enjoyment' of sport can bring comfort to people in the 'isolated' times we live in earlier today

The Duke of Sussex said the ‘passion and enjoyment’ of sport can bring comfort to people in the ‘isolated’ times we live in earlier today

An eerie silence descended on Twickenham today, devoid of the fans and chants of Swing Low Sweet Chariot ringing round the stadium

An eerie silence descended on Twickenham today, devoid of the fans and chants of Swing Low Sweet Chariot ringing round the stadium

An eerie silence descended on Twickenham today, devoid of the fans and chants of Swing Low Sweet Chariot ringing round the stadium

The Duke of Sussex said the ‘passion and enjoyment’ of sport can bring comfort to people in the ‘isolated’ times we live in earlier today. 

The game will mark the Harry, who was sporting a beard, appeared in a video posted on the England Rugby Twitter account on Friday night. 

Dressed in a navy blazer and white shirt with the top two buttons open, Harry said: ‘Rugby union has brought joy to millions of people with teams full of great characters and special players.

‘In these isolated times, the sheer passion and enjoyment that sport offers can bring great comfort to many.

‘As proud patron of the Rugby Football Union, I join millions of supporters across the entire world in celebrating 150 years of England Rugby.’  

England 6-11 Scotland: Eddie Jones’ men suffer a shock defeat in their Six Nations opener at Twickenham as they are beaten by the old enemy on home soil for first time in 38 years 

By Ieuan Ivett for MailOnline 

Scotland celebrated the 150th anniversary of the oldest rivalry in rugby by stunning England 11-6 to claim their first victory at Twickenham since 1983.

The 38-year wait for success at the home of the reigning Guinness Six Nations champions finally came to an end as Finn Russell inspired the underdogs to a magnificent win.

Russell directed play masterfully, Cameron Redpath enjoyed an influential debut and Stuart Hogg was world class at full-back as strutting Scotland were given the freedom to roam Twickenham.

England suffered shock defeat to Scotland in their opening Six Nations match at Twickenham

England suffered shock defeat to Scotland in their opening Six Nations match at Twickenham

England suffered shock defeat to Scotland in their opening Six Nations match at Twickenham 

Scotland celebrated the 150th anniversary of the oldest rivalry in rugby with 11-6 victory

Scotland celebrated the 150th anniversary of the oldest rivalry in rugby with 11-6 victory

Scotland celebrated the 150th anniversary of the oldest rivalry in rugby with 11-6 victory

Scotland claimed their first victory at Twickenham since 1983 to win the Calcutta Cup

Scotland claimed their first victory at Twickenham since 1983 to win the Calcutta Cup

Scotland claimed their first victory at Twickenham since 1983 to win the Calcutta Cup

But Scotland lacked the points to reflect their dominance, Duhan Van Der Merwe’s try as part of an 8-6 half-time lead an inadequate return given they had put England into a straitjacket.

Russell was at the heart of their brilliant display, keeping the home defence guessing with an array of kicks and passes, but there also were erratic moments, most notably a trip on Ben Youngs punished by a yellow card.

Lions coach Warren Gatland was watching from the stands and he will view the Racing 92 magician as a clear winner in his duel with Owen Farrell.

Scotland’s mastery of almost every department continued after the interval yet they struggled to make the impact on the scoreboard needed to kill off England, who were bitterly disappointing.

Almost a fifth of Eddie Jones’ team had not played since France were edged in sudden death 62 days ago and while the inactivity of the Saracens contingent contributed to the lack of intensity, England had more pressing problems.

Conceding four penalties in the first five minutes alone, one of them resulting in three points for Russell, led to a dismal start and the indiscipline became a debilitating theme of the match.

Twice Maro Itoje charged down kicks by scrum-half Ali Price inside the Scots’ 22 as the visitors invited pressure, but they were rare positive moments for the red rose.

Duhan Van Der Merwe's try as part of an 8-6 half-time lead proved pivotal in the victory

Duhan Van Der Merwe's try as part of an 8-6 half-time lead proved pivotal in the victory

Duhan Van Der Merwe’s try as part of an 8-6 half-time lead proved pivotal in the victory

Russell was at the heart of their brilliant display, keeping the home defence guessing

Russell was at the heart of their brilliant display, keeping the home defence guessing

Russell was at the heart of their brilliant display, keeping the home defence guessing

Redpath was already making his presence felt at inside centre, most notably by catching a long line-out throw and running hard into the heart of the home defence.

Russell was beginning to weave his magic with his passing already making a difference and there was another swing towards Scotland when he was chopped down by a swinging arm from Billy Vunipola, who was sent to the sin bin.

Showing no ill effects, Russell lofted the ball into the left corner where the bounce just deceived Van Der Merwe, but soon after the wing’s powerful run swept him to the line and he was able to touch down.

The first half hour had been dominated by Scotland, but England clawed their way back into contention with successive penalties by Farrell.

Russell saw a yellow card for his trip on Youngs, his spell in the sin bin spanning either half, but when he returned the Scots were pounding away at the home line and he slotted a penalty.

Hogg weaved his way into space and the difference in attacking ability between the rivals was stark as England struggled to fire a shot.

Two huge touchfinders from Hogg pinned the champions back as rain began to fall, but the Exeter full-back was unable to land a long-range penalty that would have propelled his side eight points ahead.

It was not needed, however, as England could just not muster any meaningful response and Scotland’s players celebrated noisily when the final whistle blew. 

link

(Visited 73 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply