1971- Calcutta Cup Clash

1971- Calcutta Cup Clash

Today (20 March) we remember another epic Calcutta Cup encounter, as it’s 49 years to the day since the 1971 clash at Twickenham, which ended with a dramatic 16-15 Scotland win.

England had posted a loss in Cardiff, win in Dublin and draw against the French in their three previous outings. Scotland’s last win at Twickenham was the “Wilson Shaw” match of 1938, so was their hoodoo there to continue?

England opened the scoring with a try from the Harlequins full-back, Bob Hiller but Scotland replied through one of six Gala players who were in their line-up that day, No 8 and captain Peter Brown.

Brown followed a break by centre Chris Rea, supported by winger Alastair Biggar and flanker Nairn MacEwan, to touch down. He converted his own try – tries were worth only three points at that time – for a 5-3 lead. Two penalties from Hiller took England to 9-5 at half-time.

Half-Time: England 9-5 Scotland

Scrum-half Duncan Paterson, another of the Gala sextet, who went on to serve as Scotland team manager, dropped a goal off lineout possession to narrow the gap to one point but a try by Tony Neary, the England flanker and a third penalty by Hiller extended England’s lead to 15-5 with a mere eight minutes remaining.

As the clock ticked down, Paterson collected his own chip kick and forced his way over for a try. Now Ken Bogle, author of Scottish Rugby – Game by Game, takes up the story.

“Then, in the dying seconds, Ian “Mighty Mouse” McLauchlan thundered to the English 22 from a short lineout. Paterson made a darting run before finding Peter Brown who gave a one-handed overhead pass to Chris Rea.

“The centre (a product of Dundee HSFP who became a celebrated radio broadcaster for the BBC and rugby correspondent of The Scotsman) juggled with the ball and just managed to make the line with John Spencer, his opposite number, hanging onto him.

“The outcome hinged on Peter Brown’s conversion attempt.”

Earlier in the season, Scotland had lost to a last kick of the game, when John Taylor, the Welsh flanker, had struck the “greatest conversion since St Paul” of Gerald Davies’ try, to give Wales a 19-18 win at Murrayfield. Now Brown had the chance to put Scotland on the right end of this climax.

From a position about half-way between the touchline and posts, Brown wiped his nose on his jersey and with a head-on kicking style blootered the ball through the uprights to mark a famous Scotland victory.

Full-Time: England 15-16 Scotland

And for good measure, one week later at Murrayfield in a match to mark the centenary of international rugby, Scotland won again against England, this time by a margin of 26-6.

Peter Brown is still in pole position in Scotland’s all-time rugby records. His 67 points haul remains the highest points career contribution from a Scotland forward. None were more precious than the two he garnered at Twickenham that March day in 1971.

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