Six Nations: Five Titanic England v Scotland Clashes

The tries, the tears, the Slams, that semi-final - when England and Scotland take to the rugby field, it's not sport, it's moider.
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The tries, the tears, the Slams, that semi-final - when England and Scotland take to the rugby field, it's not sport, it's moider.

There are sporting rivalries and then there's England vs Scotland. Football, cricket, bar billiards - it doesn't matter the sport, simply pit these two great nations against one another and you've an epic encounter on your hands.

It's on the rugby field, though, that the greatest battles have been fought. Okay, so not every game's been a classic - last year's 15-15 draw was a great advert for spending your Saturday afternoon solving crimes with Midsomer’s finest. But at their best, Calcutta Cup clashes are as much a highlight of the sporting calendar as the Derby, the Grand National and the Mint 400 off road race. Here are five particularly memorable encounters.

1980: The Beaumont Slam

Churchill was but a lad the last time England won the Grand Slam (probably). And having nearly come a cropper against France and Wales, no one would have been surprised had Bill Beaumont's boys fallen at the final hurdle. Fortunately, for the Sassenachs, no one told winger John Carleton whose hat-trick set the seal on a truly unforgettable occasion.

1990: Their Finest Hour

Ten years on, and both England and Scotland were gunning for Grand Slam glory. With Will Carling skippering his side to devastating victories against Wales and France, it seemed they only needed to show up to defeat a Scottish side that couldn't rival them for dash or spectacle. David Sole's squad, however, had a surplus of steel and from the moment they walked onto the Murrayfield pitch, it was clear Scotland wouldn't just be playing a supporting role. Eighty minutes later, guess who was heading homewards to think again?

1991: Hastings' Miss

A year later, Scotland and England reconvened at Murrayfield for the Rugby World Cup semi-final. With so much hinging on the game, it's hardly surprising it wasn't a barn burner. There was, though, one moment that will be talked about as long as there is a game called rugby union. With but minutes to play, Scottish fullback and future Lions captain Gavin Hastings stood over what appeared the simplest of penalties. What happened next was to prove a hammer blow to Scottish hopes of global glory.

2000: Slambusters

To Murrayfield again, and England were playing such a sparkling game, a Grand Slam seemed assured. After Lawrence Dallaglio crossed early in the piece, it appeared only a matter of time before Matt Dawson ascended the stairs to pick up the Six Nations trophy. And then the rain came, and with it Scotland in general and Peter Dodds in particular found the fight to dampen English hopes. The visitors still won the championship but a poor piece of sportsmanship meant they were mourning their loss in the dressing room when Andy Nicol collected the Calcutta Cup.

2007: When Jonny Came Marching Home

Four long years had passed since Jonny Wilkinson dropped that goal in Sydney. In the years since, the only international rugby Wilko had played was on the ill-fated Lions tour of 2005. After a succession of injuries so severe they'd have ended many carers, everyone thought the fly-half had lost his edge. A record-breaking 27 points later, it was clear the final chapter in the Wilkinson career had still to be written. And he did it all wearing lipstick.

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