Why Scotland sent out important message with England win as ex-captain delivers Gregor Townsend praise

Scotland were praised for their “gutsy” performance in the win over England at BT Murrayfield.

Scotland defeated England to retain the Calcutta Cup.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Scotland defeated England to retain the Calcutta Cup. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Gregor Townsend’s men had to withstand a lot of pressure, especially in the first half, but emerged 20-17 winners.

It was a result which meant the Calcutta Cup was retained for the first time in 38 years and Scotland got their Six Nations campaign off to a winning start which many expected they would.

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Former Scotland John Barclay praised the way the team dealt with the pressure.

"It could have gone either way you’ve got to be honest but we talked about the evolution in Scotland’s game and how they win games," he said on BBC.

“That game was won on defence. We will see some moments of brilliance from Finn Russell and there was some superb play but based on guts, on defence, on determination, it was a really, really gutsy performance by Scotland.

“Whether it was mind games or whatever pre-game, the pressure was on Scotland and Eddie Jones was keeping it on Scotland, it was an important day for Scotland to deliver a victory. Whether they were favourites or not that doesn't matter, backing up the talking through the week was very important to this group.”

Barclay earned 76 caps for Scotland, the last of those coming under current boss Gregor Townsend.

Townsend has been in charge since 2017 and there are clear signs of progression with the rugby legend possessing an impressive win ratio for a Scotland boss.

The win at Murrayfield was his 50th match in charge. He has lost just once in five matches against England.

Barclay praised the way Townsend has improved the defensive side of the team.

“The evolution of the team and how much emphasis he has put on changing the DNA of the side,” he said.

"Gregor was an attacking player, an attacking coach so it must have been hard for him to come back from 2019 and the disappointment of that and say ‘you know what? We need to put so much more into the defensive side of the game’.

"He deserves a huge amount of credit.”

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