Finn Russell: Whole Scotland team was world class against England

Posted Sunday, February 25, 2018 by PA

Finn Russell: Whole Scotland team was world class against England

Finn Russell hailed a “world-class” team performance after Scotland stunned England with a first Calcutta Cup win in a decade.

England were heavy favourites as they made their way up to Edinburgh, but they were never at the races as the Dark Blues racked up a 25-13 win in a breathless tie at BT Murrayfield.

Scotland were without a win over the Auld Enemy since 2008 but handing England just their second defeat of Eddie Jones’ tenure has sparked fresh hope they can mount a NatWest 6 Nations title challenge.

Huw Jones – with two – and Sean Maitland were the try-scorers, but it was Russell who ran the show with an emphatic response to his critics after below-par displays against Wales and France.

Despite his brilliance – which included an outrageous floated pass to Huw Jones in the lead up to Maitland’s try – he played down Eddie Jones’ pre-match comments that he was a world-class operator and insisted it was a team effort.

“I think for a 10 to be world class you’ve got to have the boys around you that help you out, and today everyone played so well,” he said.

“We had the game plan and everyone executed that, so for a 10 that makes it easier for me running those balls out the back and you’ve got boys running off you.

“I couldn’t have played like I did today without the boys round me giving me the support and knowing their game plan as well as I did.

“I think today the team was world class, not just an individual.”

Despite leading 22-6 at half-time following a stunning first half of rugby, there were nerves after Owen Farrell raced through for an early try.

But the hosts eventually held out for an emotional victory to outline their credentials as serious title challengers this year, and Russell admits they can still improve.

He said: “It’s not quite settled in yet. It’s an experience I’ve never had and a feeling I’ve never had.

“It was amazing to go out and beat England. Not even just beat them but the way we played.

“We played so well and executed the game plan, well not as well as we could, but well enough.

“There are still things to work on but it was a pretty good performance.”

While the win went some way to proving Scotland’s mettle on the highest stage under intense pressure, there remain questions over their away record in the Six Nations.

Scotland are without an away win since beating Italy in Rome two years ago and crumbled against Wales at the start of this campaign

And head coach Gregor Townsend is aware of their need to improve that when they head to Dublin in a fortnight.

He said: “We know we’ve got Ireland, an outstanding team with great record. We have our own issues away from home.

“That will be our focus in a week’s time. We have to show a truer picture of what we’re about away from home.”




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