Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Can Leave the Sad Scots in Tears; Rugby

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Can Leave the Sad Scots in Tears; Rugby

Article excerpt


NOW for the Scots on Saturday. I lost only once to Scotland during my England career and it was a disastrous year that everyone associated with the English team remembers. It was 1990, the year of Scotland's Grand Slam.

Because of that hugely emotional day, the games with Scotland that followed have an extra edge.

If anything, it's probably become even more intense after Scotland's win over England at Mur-rayfield last year denied Matt Dawson's team the Grand Slam. Matt, I know how you feel!

The depression that settled over me after 1990 was in stark contrast to the fun and games I enjoyed two years earlier in Edinburgh when England won 9-6. It wasn't a great game but it was my first England win and an outstanding night.

It was later that evening the Calcutta Cup turned into a plate while in the care of its two 'minders', John Jeffrey and Pc Dean Richards.

I was under a table at the after-match dinner when a few of the guys decided to take the trophy for a spin around the city. Later, I ended up inside a dry cleaning machine, because my dinner jacket was in there, and it seemed a nice warm place to rest, but that's another story.

The good times I experienced on that visit only helped make 1990 so hard to endure. We made the classic mistake of underestimating Scotland and paid the penalty. I was shouted at by jubilant locals all the way through Edinburgh airport.

However, I never lost to the Scots again and that's what I hope Dawson will be able to say when he looks back on his Test career.

There is something about Scotland that causes English teams problems. In 1994, Gregor Townsend dropped a goal with two minutes remaining. I remember looking at Rob Andrew and we were both ashen white.

Somehow (and I don't claim any captaincy miracles here), we pulled together and focused on winning the restart and then just keeping the ball until they gave a penalty away. …

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