Van der Merwe hat-trick as Scotland beat England in Six Nations

Duhan van der Merwe in action for Scotland. File photo

Duhan van der Merwe inflicted yet more pain on England with a superb hat-trick of tries as Scotland came from behind to win 30-21 in the Six Nations at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Scotland were 10-0 down early on but, inspired by their dashing wing, they bounced back with a third-round win that ended England’s bid for a Grand Slam.

Victory meant Scotland had won four Six Nations games in a row over England for the first time since the late 19th century.

And not since 1972, a run including a success in the RFU Centenary international, had Scotland reeled off four straight wins over their oldest rivals.

Scotland, in retaining the Calcutta Cup, rebounded from an agonising loss to France and put themselves back in title contention with two wins from three games after they started with a 27-26 defeat of Wales in Cardiff.

The 28-year-old Van der Merwe has now scored 26 tries in 37 Tests, leaving him one try short of Stuart Hogg’s all-time Scotland record.

Saturday’s treble also meant Van der Merwe had scored six tries in his last four games against England alone.

“I can’t believe it to be honest,” Van der Merwe told the BBC.

“I have never scored a hat trick against England but I have to thank the boys for giving me the opportunity…I guess I am just the lucky one to finish them off.”

England coach Steve Borthwick praised a “very strong” Scotland performance but also rued his new-look side’s mistakes.

“You saw some aspects of our game step forward today but there were too many handling errors, and if you turn over that much ball it is very difficult to win a Test match against a quality Scotland team,” he said.

Scotland fell behind after a try by recalled England full-back George Furbank and a George Ford penalty.

Smash and grab

But Scotland staged a couple of smash-and-grab raids on England’s 22 as Van der Merwe went over twice before half-time.

Scotland led 17-13 at the break and Van der Merwe’s third try early in the second half left Scotland in command.

Finn Russell scored Scotland’s other 15 points, the fly-half and co-captain faultless off the kicking tee.

England wore black armbands following the death of captain Jamie George’s mother.

An England team showing five changes following a narrow 16-14 win over Wales, saw Furbank surprisingly recalled in place of Freddie Steward.

It took Furbank just six minutes to justify Borthwick’s faith with a well-worked try off a scrum.

Ford delayed his pass perfectly to send Elliot Daly through a gap and he released the supporting Furbank. Fly-half Ford converted and his 15th-minute penalty made it 10-0.

Scotland, having struggled initially with England’s rush defence, hit back with a fine try against the run of play in the 20th minute.

Sione Tuipulotu’s flat pass released onrushing fellow centre Huw Jones.

Jones sped into England’s 22 and, although hauled down, popped the ball up to Van der Merwe. Russell’s conversion cut England’s lead to 10-7.

Van der Merwe then put Scotland ahead on the half-hour mark for all his pack were struggling up front.

Furbank lost possession in midfield, with Scotland immediately going wide and there was no stopping Van der Merwe as he sped down the left touchline.

Russell converted and Scotland, who had been 10-0 down, now led 14-10.

That became 17-10 thanks to a Russell penalty after what was only Scotland’s third visit to England’s 22.

Ford, however, reduced England’s deficit with a well-taken drop-goal and Scotland led by four points at the break.

Scotland, however, pulled further clear just five minutes into the second half.

Russell’s kick was charged down but replacement Cameron Redpath collected the loose ball, spun out of contact and burst clear before Russell’s pinpoint grubber kick was regathered at pace by Van der Merwe, who went in at the corner.

Russell duly converted before an exchange of penalties with Ford left Scotland well ahead at 27-16 heading into the final quarter.

England replacement wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso then scored his first Test try, but it was too little too late for the visitors, and not even Van der Merwe’s 78th-minute yellow card could spoil his day.

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