The Scottish are coming. Be warned Ireland; it’s not England that’s the big danger this year. Scotland 25 - 13 England.
Straight from the off, the Scots played with pace and skill. They seemed to make ground with every touch of the ball it did not take long to draw the English into committing infractions and conceding a penalty.
England on the other hand were more cautious with their traditional grinding progress leading to steady, patient phase building. That is until the Scots nicked in for a steal at the ruck.
The pattern for the game was set in these first few possessions.
There were moments of English fizz, with Brown and May notable in attack. But these cameos were completely eclipsed by the back three in blue.
After the first Scottish try, scored by Huw Jones chasing a kick through that the English did not react fast enough to, the southerners began to claw their way back into the game. Their kicking game kept letting them down, however, with the Scottish gaining ground on every exchange.
A fantastic move from the men in white, however, ends with a terrible pass from Brown, and the ball sails hopelessly into touch. The mistakes are costing England dearly.
The one facet of English play that looked solid was their scrum. But they are losing the battle of the break down badly. The Scottish back row are simply out rucking their counterparts again and again.
The half ended with Jones touching down again for his second and Scotland third try, Maitland having scored a lovely try in the corner earlier. Scotland look like they are playing for fun. 22-6 at halftime.
The main thing to worry about from an Irish point of view is the rampaging back row. If we cannot contain them we are going to have a hard time of it. The lads did a decent job against the Welsh this week, and they in turn had been better than the Scots when they met. So there is hope.
The second half was a continuation of the first but with a rising, exhilarating belief in the Scottish players and the packed Murrayfield crowd that they could overturn the ten year drought.
The English did have their moments. Farrel scored a beauty to open the half and got over the line again only for the television match official to rule it out. The ball had been knocked forward in a tackle that lead to the try.
Every time the English pressure built into scoring chances it seemed to simply evaporate into thin air. As their desperation grew and time ran out, Scotland relaxed and turned on th style.
English discipline grew worse and a yellow card for a dangerous no arm tackle put the writing on the wall.
The game ended, somehow typically, with an English mistake; an overthrown pass knocked on into touch.