What happened at Twickenham? The story of a Calcutta Cup classic

On an already remarkable day in the history of Rugby’s Greatest Championship, England and Scotland served up a feast for the eyes to close the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

On an already remarkable day in the history of Rugby’s Greatest Championship, England and Scotland served up a feast for the eyes to close the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

With Wales wrapping up the Grand Slam in Cardiff earlier on Super Saturday, any hopes the Red Rose had of reclaiming the title had evaporated before the game.

But they came out with a point to prove and soon raced into a 31-0 lead, before Scotland pulled one back to give themselves a glimmer of hope at the half-time interval.

A further five tries from the visitors after the restart stunned Eddie Jones’ men and put them on course for their first victory in 36 years at the home of English rugby.

They had to settle for playing a part in the highest scoring Test draw in history, though, after George Ford popped up at the death to save England’s blushes.

Never has the saying, ‘A game of two halves’, been more apt.

Here’s a look at the remarkable scenes that closed out one of the most thrilling matches the Championship has ever seen.

A vintage performance from Wales ensured the title had already been won by the time England stepped out on the Twickenham turf to face old rivals Scotland.

There was still the small matter of the Calcutta Cup and revenge for Eddie Jones’ men to play for, however, having lost to Scotland at BT Murrayfield in last year’s Championship.

And they made an explosive start to the contest when Elliot Daly and Henry Slade combined to find Jack Nowell, who cut inside and dotted down to score with just 66 seconds played.

The winger’s try even eclipsed Hadleigh Parkes’ own early try at Principality Stadium – scored on 69 seconds – against Ireland and paved the way for an attack onslaught from the hosts.

Another score followed before the clock had reached ten minutes, with a driving lineout maul providing the platform for Tom Curry to sneak over the whitewash.

Owen Farrell converted both efforts to leave Scotland reeling at 14-0 down and the half went from bad to worse for Gregor Townsend’s men when Joe Launchbury scored England’s third try.

England were now in full flow and their bonus-point try arrived before the half-hour mark.

Slade was at the heart of the move once again, receiving the ball from Ben Youngs, darting down the wing and producing an outrageous behind-the-back pass to Jonny May to dot down.

With the score at 31-0 after 31 minutes, Scotland were staring down the barrel. This was not the way they wanted to finish a Championship that had begun with so much hope.

England were once again on the charge when they hit back against the run of play, after Farrell’s attempted kick was charged down by Stuart McInally.

The Scotland captain led from the front as he closed down England’s fly-half before holding off the challenges of Farrell and May to run in from halfway and begin his side’s revival.

But with the visitors still trailing by 24 points at the break, few anticipated what was about to follow in one of the most dramatic 40 minutes Twickenham has ever witnessed.

Scotland only had to wait seven minutes before registering their second try of the game, with Darcy Graham cutting inside to score following some incisive running from his teammates.

England were beginning to look ragged and a clever Ali Price chip saw him find an acre of space behind the hosts’ defence, before the scrum-half offloaded to the onrushing Magnus Bradbury.

Hope had suddenly turned to expectation. The momentum was with Scotland and with Finn Russell now orchestrating proceedings, their fourth try was scored before the hour-mark.

The bonus-point score was a stunning move, with ball transitioned rapidly from a line-out to Sean Maitland before the full-back released Graham for his second try.

Having been so influential in Scotland’s recovery, it was only right that Russell should add his name to the list of scorers with Scotland’s fifth try just moments later.

This time, Farrell’s attempted pass was intercepted by his opposite number, who juggled the ball several times before grasping it tightly and charging towards the tryline.

Daly, Farrell and Slade all attempted to chase after him, but their efforts were futile.

Russell converted his own try and – against all odds – Scotland were level. Former Scotland scrum-half Andy Nicol, on commentary for the BBC, put it perfectly.

Scotland were not done yet, though. Everything they attempted was coming off and with the Twickenham faithful stunned into silence, they took the lead for the first time.

With four minutes left on the clock, Sam Johnson arrived at the party, bursting through several tackles and crashing over the tryline for Scotland’s sixth unanswered try.

No team in international rugby history had ever come back from more than 29 points behind to win – but Scotland were just minutes away from doing just that.

There was to be one final act at Twickenham, though.

The clock had ticked into the red when England were awarded a penalty just inside the Scottish half, giving replacement fly-half Ford a chance to send the ball to the corner.

England won the ball and moved it the left at speed and after Scotland conceded another penalty, and after a few more phases, Ford was able to find the gap to score in the 83rd minute.

Ford was greeted by a smiling Ben Te’o after dashing over the line, before dusting himself down and stepping up to convert from in front of the posts to seal a barely believable draw.

Neither side knew whether to celebrate at the final whistle, with England struggling to work out how they’d let slip a 31-point lead while Scottish hearts were broken at the end.

The result left Nicol almost speechless: “It is a roller coaster of emotions. I am not sure what to say.”

Russell, whose side retained the Calcutta Cup, echoed that feeling on the pitch, admitting his emotions were mixed. “For us to come out and have a second half like that shows the character the boys have,” he said.

One thing was sure, no one will ever forget the finale to the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.