This was Wales’ day, but England still found a way of stealing the headlines.
It was supposed to be an English procession, but Scotland’s threadbare squad came within seconds of pulling off the biggest comeback in the history of Test rugby.
England were leading 31-0 after 29 minutes before Scotland fought back with 38 unanswered points as logic was chased out of Twickenham.
Scotland’s Stuart McInally lifts the Calcutta Cup following Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham
England levelled the match right at the death as George Ford went under the posts after he saw a gap and jinked home
England and Scotland players shake hands following a sensational match at Twickenham to bring curtain down on Six Nations
Scotland’s Sam Johnson scores their sixth try of the match with four minutes left in the Six Nations finale at Twickenham
Scotland’s Finn Russell scores a try to make it 31-31 with 20 minutes remaining in the match at Twickenham on Saturday
Russell is surrounded by his Scotland team-mates after scoring their fifth try against England in the 60th minute
Not for the first time, England coughed up a healthy lead and questions will be asked about their mindset going into the World Cup.
Scotland were on course for their first victory on English turf since 1983 until George Ford darted over in the 84th minute to salvage a draw.
The Scots had been written off and ridiculed. The question before kick-off was: Will Wales slip up to hand the title to England?
The replica trophy was ready. Victory was supposed to be a formality.
When Eddie Jones looks back at his Six Nations notes, this second-half implosion will stand out alongside events in Cardiff.
England had been on an upward trajectory but, here, everything unravelled and even the skipper Owen Farrell was taken off after 70 minutes. Not for the first time, Jones’ comments came back to bite him. Tired Wales? It was England who ran out of puff.
Finn Russell was at the heart of the comeback as the Scots retained the Calcutta Cup.
Darcy Graham of Scotland scored his team’s fourth try of the game in the 57th minute of the Six Nations encounter
Scotland’s Magnus Bradbury breaks forward to score a try in the 50th minute to reduce the deficit at Twickenham
Bradbury celebrates scoring his side’s third try of the game and is joined by his team-mates during the second period
Scotland’s Graham celebrates scoring his side’s second try with his team-mates just after the break on Saturday evening
Early indications were that Scotland’s No 10 had a robust exchange with his coach, Gregor Townsend, at half-time and Scotland threw off the shackles.
Fans had arrived early to Twickenham early hoping for a dramatic twist. They gathered around TV screens in the stadium’s underbelly, beer in hand, baying for the Irish to pull something off in Cardiff. By 3.35, with Wales leading 16-0 at half-time, they knew it was all over. Ticket touts outside the ground slashed their prices. By the time the final whistle was blown, however, there was no question about value for money.
England let out their frustrations early on. Wales had scored their first try against Ireland inside 71 seconds. England needed just 66 seconds.
Jack Nowell of England breaks through to score his side’s first try of the Six Nations clash against Scotland at Twickenham
Nowell got the home side off to a brilliant start as he scored their first try within the opening two minutes of the encounter
Nowell is surrounded by his England team-mates after scoring their first try of the match within the opening minutes
Owen Farrell kicks a conversion during the opening exchanges against Scotland in the Six Nations fixture
Over the past eight weeks Kyle Sinckler has emerged as a potential world-beater in the front row. His tip-on pass has fooled countless defenders and it worked again as Farrell, Elliot Daly and Henry Slade combined to set up Jack Nowell.
Last year at Murrayfield England were blitzed at the breakdown.Here, Tom Curry won the first turnover after a few minutes. England celebrated like they had scored a try.
Moments later the flanker scored. England threw a shortened lineout to Billy Vunipola and Curry latched on to the back of the maul to score.
Weary Scotland looked like they had just spent the night celebrating with the Welsh. Their defence in the wide channels was non-existent and England took advantage.
Daly was given the freedom of Twickenham with the ball in hand, Slade showed off his offloading ability and Nowell jinked around anyone in his path. But it was the forwards who combined for the third score. On as an early injury replacement for Ben Moon, Ellis Genge swatted off Scottish defenders and offloaded to Sinckler.
Ben Youngs kept the move flowing before Joe Launchbury crashed over to score. Thirteen minutes, 21 points.
Russell spent most of the first half having English shoulders imprinted on his ribs. Youngs had a score reversed for a knock on but, after a Farrell penalty, England had the bonus point wrapped up inside half an hour.
They played with tempo. Youngs tapped a quick penalty before fizzing a flat pass across the face of Farrell to Slade. The silky centre flicked an offload to Jonny May, who scored his 14th try in 15 Tests.
England 31, Scotland 0.
What happened next will be written into the annals of rugby history. Hooker Stuart McInally charged down Farrell before collecting the ball and running 60 metres to score — slipping off a weak tackle by May. Scotland’s back line was missing Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Blair Kinghorn, so up stepped 5ft 7in replacement Darcy Graham to score his side’s second.
Holes emerged in the English defence, players slipped off tackles and balls were dropped. A vicious wind swirled around the stadium and Russell thrived in the chaos. Scrum-half Ali Price chipped over the defence to catch Daly in no-man’s land, before offloading to Magnus Bradbury who scored.
Outside of Rome, Scotland have won away only twice in the Six Nations – Wales in 2002 and Ireland in 2010 – so surely their comeback would be shortlived?
Russell’s sublime passing game unpicked England’s defence in Murrayfield last year. He threw another 20-metre pass in the build-up to Graham’s next score, before intercepting a Farrell pass to add his own name to the scoresheet.
Suddenly Scotland were level.
England scored two tries in the first nine minutes as Tom Curry went over early on in the match on Saturday evening
England were running riot as Joe Launchbury went over for their third try in the 13th minute of the Six Nations match
Ellis Genge set up Launchbury’s try as the replacement prop embarked on a bull-dozing run before his beautiful offload
Farrell was lucky to avoid a yellow card for a shoulder charge on Graham — and Greig Laidlaw missed the subsequent penalty.
The captain was hooked moments later. An unprecedented move.
Billy Vunipola then spilled the ball in contact and Russell set up Sam Johnson to give Scotland the lead in the 76th minute.
England were on the brink of the wrong kind of history, but Ford spared their blushes with the clock deep in the red.
Jonny May scored England’s fourth try following some good handling from the home side in the 29th minute of the game
Henry Slade stayed wide, allowing May to go on the underlap, and fed his team-mate with a beautiful one-handed offload
May swan-dived over to put England in complete control against Scotland in the Six Nations clash at Twickenham
Scotland’s hooker McInally (left) evades England’s fly-half Farrell as he runs in to score their first try before half-time
Farrell looks on during the incredible match between England and Scotland in the Six Nations finale on Saturday evening