Duhan van der Merwe’s try was like something out of a video game

Gregor Townsend compared Duhan Van Der Merwe’s impressive solo score to something from the PlayStation game ‘Jonah Lomu Rugby’ after Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup with a thrilling 29-20 win over England.

Van Der Merwe ran from inside his own half and evaded five tackles as he sensationally lit up Twickenham with the second of the visitors’ four tries in a Guinness Six Nations classic.

The British and Irish lion proved the match winner as he looted a decisive second try six minutes from time to spoil Steve Borthwick’s start as England boss.

However, the emotional head coach Townsend was left purring at Van Der Merwe’s majestic effort in the 28th minute as he toasted a famous bonus points victory.

He said: “It was amazing, wasn’t it? He reminded me of when, for everyone of a certain age, you played Jonah Lomu Rugby and suddenly a person can go faster.

“Duhan hasn’t had much rugby in recent weeks. He has trained very well with us, but playing the way he did today due to injury and not playing for Edinburgh is a true testament to how he has put himself in this position, both mentally and physically.

“And I almost saw a different side of Duhan there when he took a step and then sped up.

“His finish for the last try was similar to two years ago (an 11-6 win) when he ended up in the opposite corner.

“It was a brilliant finish, but that first try was incredible, and one that drives the Scotland supporters in the stands crazy and silences everyone else because you don’t see tries like that very often.”

Gregor Townsend was delighted with Scotland’s performance (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Scotland were forced to come from behind as they continued their recent domination of this fixture.

Despite a flashy effort from Van Der Merwe adding to Huw Jones’ first try, they trailed 13-12 at half-time after Max Malins’ brace and an Owen Farrell penalty.

England, playing Steve Borthwick for the first time, stretched that lead to 20-12 thanks to Ellis Genge coming close.

But the Scots struck back through scrum-half Ben White and Van Der Merwe’s second to snatch a third straight win over England in a messy encounter.

Scotland were backed by a rowdy touring support in London, in stark contrast to two years ago when they triumphed behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions.

“I felt a lot of emotion at the final whistle,” Townsend said. “I don’t know if it was because of the noise or because of the occasion.

“I was never close to winning here as a player and doing it now when you are part of a team that does get a win. Two years ago there was no crowd here, so doing it today was emotional.

“We celebrate our victories, so we have a little fun in the locker room.”

Borthwick’s debut ended in painful disappointment and he admitted that his team squandered a great chance to win back the Calcutta Cup.

“Clearly we are disappointed with the result,” he said. “Scotland have controlled this match in recent years and I thought they were very good.

“They didn’t get a lot of chances, but the chances they did get they took ruthlessly. We have to make sure that we limit those possibilities. He moved the ball very well from far away in attack.

steve borthwick

Steve Borthwick’s reign in England got off to a losing start (Adam Davy/PA)

“We did see some growth, particularly on the offensive end of the game. It looked like the team had points in them and potential to score tries. But we want to win and we are disappointed that we didn’t.

“We got hit by a couple of touchdowns in that first half that really came out of nowhere.

“The team responded incredibly well because if he had pulled back a little bit, the team wouldn’t have reacted the way they did.

“Going up at halftime was the merit of the players. At 20-12, we shouldn’t have let that game slip away, but we did.

“We’ll take a good look at it and part of growing as a team is going through a bit of pain. We could have won that game, but we didn’t.”

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