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Russell ‘gutted’ but proud of Scotland character in draw thriller


Twickenham (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Finn Russell confessed to being devastated despite Scotland’s astonishing comeback from 31-0 to draw 38-38 with England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The 26-year-old fly-half — who was outstanding pulling the strings in the second half — said the consolation was the character he and his team-mates had shown in what was the highest scoring draw in Test history.

However, it was heavily tinged with sadness as a first win at Twickenham since 1983 eluded them in the final move of the match as George Ford went over for a converted try.    

Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup having won it last year in Edinburgh. 

“I am gutted to be honest, at half-time people would have written us off,” said Russell.

“For us to come out and have a second half like that shows the character the boys have.

“I’m just so disappointed we didn’t manage to finish it off at the end.

Russell, who was sorely missed by the Scots when he had to miss the defeat in Paris due to concussion, said he had got into a dispute with coach Gregor Townsend at half-time. 

“I think I had an argument with Gregor that we were kicking too much and giving them (England) the ball so they ran the ball back at us,” said Russell.

“So we came out in the second with nothing to lose, played our own rugby, scored some great tries and played good Scottish rugby.”

Townsend, who had a few near-misses in a frustrating tournament, including going close to beating Wales a week ago, said he understood the disappointment.   

“I really feel for them but I am really proud of what the team achieved today, against history, against the odds, against what people thought we would do,” said Townsend.

“It was incredible.”

– ‘Take time to fix’ –

Eddie Jones admitted it had been a bit of a shocker but not the first time his side have been in a commanding lead only to allow the game to slip out of their control.

“It is a recurring factor like against South Africa and Wales. We probably should have been ahead by more and then gave them some easy points,” said Jones. 

“It is not something you can fix easily it will take digging into the psyche of the team and we will do that.

“It is a great lesson for us I would rather have these games now than at the World Cup.

“We know what the problem is and it will take time to fix.” 

England captain Owen Farrell bore a shell-shocked expression — he had gathered his team-mates round after the final whistle to have a quick discussion.

“It shocked us when they got a bit of momentum and we gave that to them, me more than anyone at times,” he told ITV.

“We got in a momentum rut and couldn’t get out of it. That is in our control more than we thought it was and that is what we have got to get better at.”

Farrell, who gifted the Scots two tries, did not agree that the manner in which they had let the lead slip away bore similar hallmarks to how they allowed Wales back into the game in Cardiff earlier in the tournament.

“Two different things, two different situations,” the 27-year-old fly-half said.

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