Scotland’s dramatic 20-17 Calcutta Cup victory over England was special for everyone on the winning side but for debutant Ben White it included ‘the best ten minutes’ of his life.
Named on the bench for the Guinness Six Nations clash, scrum-half White was called into action earlier than anticipated as Ali Price went off for an HIA with barely ten minutes played.
White made the most of his opportunity as he started and finished Scotland’s first try just five minutes after coming on for his international debut to put the hosts in front at BT Murrayfield.
Price passed his HIA, meaning the 23-year-old returned to the bench before re-entering the fray as a permanent replacement midway through the second half but those first moments of his international career will live with him forever.
“It was an incredible experience,” explained White. “I don’t think words can do it justice. It was absolutely amazing.
“I walked off and said to one of the lads of the bench, ‘that was the best ten minutes of my life’! If anything, getting on like that was good. It took away the nerves and angst of maybe waiting until the last 20 minutes.
“Just to be thrown in at the deep end was a good thing. You just go on and do your job.”
A try on your international debut is special enough but White’s dot down was the culmination of a scintillating score that would prove decisive in the final reckoning as the hosts won consecutive Calcutta Cup matches for the first time since 1984.
Scotland caught England cold with a quickly-taken lineout on halfway following Ben Youngs’ box-kick and after Sam Johnson carried hard into contact, they pounced on an over-matched defence.
Faced with two locks, a prop and a scrum-half down the blindside, first receiver Stuart Hogg caught the pass from White, drew contact and fed Darcy Graham, who drifted past a couple of defenders, put on the afterburners, danced past Joe Marchant and flicked a pass inside for the supporting White to touch down.
“I just knew when I passed it to Hoggy that we might be on here and then Darcy cut a class line and I was just sprinting as fast as I could to make sure that I was with him,” recalled White.
“You can run that line 50 times a year and not get it, but luckily Darcy’s footwork was amazing, and he put the pass on the money.
“The feeling… I mean words can’t describe it or do it justice, it was amazing.”
White played for England at Under-20s level and plies his club trade with London Irish in the English Premiership but is eligible to represent Scotland due to his Edinburgh-born grandfather.
He has described playing for Scotland as ‘a dream come true’ and says it has been an incredibly welcoming environment – with the focus now on backing up the victory over England for the remainder of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations, starting with a trip to Cardiff to face Wales on Saturday.
“We need to keep delivering as a team,” added White. “Our focus now is to back it up with another win at the weekend.”
“As a playing group it’s very tight-knit. Everyone has been incredibly friendly and helpful to me.
“Coming into this environment you can see how close the squad is, how good the bond is between the players. That shows on the pitch how close a unit we are as a team.”