Scotland v England: Six Nations Round 2

Something a little odd to begin an analysis with is the weather, but that’s where I want to start, because it influenced the entire match. Storm Ciara was swirling around Edinburgh, with the conditions inside Murrayfield playing havoc with the ball and the teams. It was very blowy and very wet, which made the ball move in interesting directions when airborne, and also made the ball more slippery to handle and catch as the game went on.

Scotland started on the back foot, because England piled the pressure on them from the word go in all honesty. They were forced to defend well and often found themselves running towards their own try line in the first half.

That was about it for Scotland in the first half, but in the second half there were a few more things to point out. Both sides did begin with some slips, but that was down mainly to a wet ball, so nothing can be drawn from that in all honesty.

The Scots started the second half really well, pushing England back and charging with the ball. It was obvious that they wanted to keep the ball on the ground and take it into the tackles, and that was understandable given that the wind had picked up even more as the match went on. They did get their reward of sorts with their early penalty, but it was quite obvious that they were disappointed to have not scored the opening try of the match. What was clear was that they were definitely on top in these early stages, with England struggling to adjust to the new conditions, with the wind now against them.

Captain Stuart Hogg has not been overly convincing thus far. He has had good moments, but he has also had nervy moments. Obviously in this one, the weather did not help, but perhaps the pressure of being captain is affecting his game time? It’s only a possibility, and in all likelihood a wrong one, but it’s something to consider now that we are two games in.

After their positive start to the second half, the try seemed to knock all confidence out of Scotland, and the errors were creeping into their play. That ultimately helped to give the win to England.

England, meanwhile, were testing Scotland in the early stages, with a variety of high and low kicks to see what the Scots could do in the first half with the wind against the home side. However, they also weren’t giving Scotland any time to think, with all of their lineouts and penalties taken quickly so as to force Scotland into making errors, with the intention of rattling them perhaps. The underlining point, however, is that England looked so much more positive in this match compared to their opening match in Paris.

I thought it was interesting how George Ford seemed to be positioned nearer the back, with full-back George Furbank, when the teams were kicking from end to end. Now, whether this was a tactical decision of Eddie Jones and the coaching team, or whether it was Ford’s move to do this, I think it was because the windy conditions maybe necessitated a more experienced ball kicker in these exchanges. It wasn’t a huge moment in the game, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless.

Kicking was the main weapon of the first half, because of the wind, but apart from that and all of this, there really wasn’t much to talk about and analyse in the first half.

In the second half, England struggled to cope with the conditions, and mistakes were constant from them, but in the end, it didn’t matter. Scotland’s mistake when grounding the ball on their own try line led to the 5 metre scrum, which led to England’s try from Leicester Tigers prop Ellis Genge. It came from good pressure and Genge just used his body to force the Scotland defence backwards, creating the space to score.

It wasn’t a match with an enormous amount of tactics to look at, hence why this is not an enormously tactical analysis, but England will be happy to have got a win and got on the board, as well as regaining the Calcutta Cup, whilst Scotland will know that they had chances in the second half, and with Italy next, they need to win the next game if they want to not finish bottom.

MAN OF THE MATCH:

With the wind causing havoc with both sides’ kicking game, it came down to the play on the ground. Tom Curry and Sam Underhill were brilliant with that, but Underhill just nudges it for me.

NEXT UP:

After a weekend off, England will look to get two wins on the bounce when Twickenham hosts it’s first match of the tournament, with Ireland visiting London on Sunday afternoon. Scotland will look to pick themselves up when they travel to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome at Saturday lunchtime.

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