Top 10 stats from Scotland v England

The 2022 Calcutta Cup was a remarkable match that produced some remarkable statistics. Here are On Top Of The Moon’s top 10 from a classic encounter at Murrayfield.

1. Maro Itoje’s bogey team

Maro Itoje is a player who is not used to losing – take for example his 31-match winning streak for England and Saracens during 2015 and 2016. Scotland do seem to have become the big man’s kryptonite though…

Maro Itoje’s record at Test level for England (by opponent):

  • v Australia: 7 wins from 7 matches – 100%
  • v Italy: 5/5 – 100%
  • v Tonga: 2/2 – 100%
  • v Argentina: 1/1 – 100%
  • v Georgia: 1/1 – 100%
  • v Japan: 1/1 – 100%
  • v Samoa: 1/1 – 100%
  • v Wales: 5/7 – 71%
  • v France: 4/6 – 67%
  • v Ireland: 5/8 – 62%
  • v South Africa: 3/6 – 50%
  • v New Zealand: 1/2 – 50%
  • v Scotland: 2/5 – 40%

2. Calcutta Cup domination

Scotland have only lost 1 of their last 5 games against England in the championship. That’s a feat they haven’t achieved since the 1980s – between 1982 and 1986 to be precise.

3. Away day blues no more?

England’s loss in Edinburgh means that Eddie Jones’ side have only won 2 out of their last 10 away matches in the Six Nations (excluding fixtures against Italy) and Scotland, with 3 wins and a draw have, have a superior record by the same measure. This is a remarkable turnaround for the Scots who had only won 2 out of 34 fixtures away from homes against the championship’s big 4 during the first 17 years since the tournament expanded in 2000.

Away records in each side’s last 10 Six Nations fixtures (excluding matches against Italy):

  • Ireland – 4 wins
  • Scotland – 3 wins and 1 draw
  • Wales – 3 wins
  • England – 2 wins
  • France – 2 wins

4. Are you experienced?

The 562 caps across Scotland’s XV for the game at Murrayfield were the most for any starting lineup in the Townsend era bar the RWC opener against Ireland in 2019 (630 caps). The Scots have a settled group and the coaches will be looking how to run most of this selection through to the next World Cup while maintaining competition for places and continuing to find the improvements required to allow them to challenge South Africa and Ireland in the pool stages.

5. A trio of wins

Between 2018 and 2022, Scotland have won 3 games against England. That’s the same number of victories that the dark blues managed in the previous 27 years of clashes with the Auld Enemy.

6. Fast starts v false starts

In the first 17 years of the tournament as the Six Nations, Scotland only won their opening fixture on one occasion, putting themselves in an unlikely position for making any kind of title challenge. Since 2017 they have now won 4 times in Round 1 of the Championship.

Opening round of the Six Nations for Scotland – win ; loss x

  • 2000 – x
  • 2001 – x
  • 2002 – x
  • 2003 – x
  • 2004 – x
  • 2005 – x
  • 2006 –
  • 2007 – x
  • 2008 – x
  • 2009 – x
  • 2010 – x
  • 2011 – x
  • 2012 – x
  • 2013 – x
  • 2014 – x
  • 2015 – x
  • 2016 – x
  • 2017 –
  • 2018 – x
  • 2019 –
  • 2020 – x
  • 2021 –
  • 2022 –

7. Back to back

Saturday’s win means that Scotland have managed consecutive wins against England in the Five/Six Nations for just the third time in the last 90 years (the other occasions were 1983 & 1984 and 3 in a row between 1970 & 1972.

8. An exclusive club

Debutant Ben White joined a very small group of players who have scored tries for Scotland against England at Murrayfield over the last 30 years. The London Irish scrum half is one of just eight players to make that list:

  • 1994 – Rob Wainwright
  • 1996 – none
  • 1998 – Shaun Longstaff, Tony Stanger
  • 2000 – Duncan Hodge
  • 2002 – none
  • 2004 – Simon Danielli
  • 2006 – none
  • 2008 – none
  • 2010 – none
  • 2012 – none
  • 2014 – none
  • 2016 – none
  • 2018 – Huw Jones (2), Sean Maitland
  • 2020 – none
  • 2022 – Ben White*

* (+1 penalty try)

9. Tackling tenacity

Some inaccuracies in attack – too often losing possession on first phase – left Scotland having to defend for large periods of the match this weekend. The accuracy level in defence was significantly higher with the Scots only missing 8 tackles and returning a success rate of 94%. By way of comparison here are Scotland’s defensive stats set against the same numbers from the 2019 edition of the Calcutta Cup that finished 38-all at Twickenham.

Forwards:

  • 2022 – tackles made 95, tackles missed 4, completion rate 96%
  • 2019 – tackles made 146, tackles missed 19, completion rate 88%

Backs:

  • 2022 – tackles made 29, tackles missed 4, completion rate 88%
  • 2019 – tackles made 53, tackles missed 26, completion rate 67%

10. Taking on Tier 1

In the 51 years that Scotland have had a head coach, Gregor Townsend is the only one among that group to maintain a winning percentage in excess of 50% against the Tier 1 nations (the countries making up the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship). Toony’s record is 19 wins; 1 draw; and 17 losses for a 51% win ratio. For the remainder of the professional era Scotland’s record in those matches was 29%.

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