Gregor Townsend likened Duhan van der Merwe’s stunning solo score to something from the PlayStation game ‘Jonah Lomu Rugby’ after Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup with a stunning 29-20 win over England.
Van Der Merwe ran from his own half and escaped five tackles as he blazed away at Twickenham with the second of the visitors’ four tries in a Guinness Six Nations classic.
It was the British and Irish Lions who won the match when they scored a decisive second try six minutes from time to spoil Steve Borthwick’s debut as England boss.
But an emotional head coach Townsend was left cheering for Van Der Merwe’s 28th minute effort as he hit a famous bonus point.
He said: “It was incredible, wasn’t it? It reminded me of when, for everyone of a certain age, you played Jonah Lomu Rugby and suddenly one can go faster.
“Duhan hasn’t had much rugby in the last few weeks. He has trained very well with us but to play like he did today with an injured back, and not playing for Edinburgh, is a real testament to how he is in this position, mentally and physically .
“And I almost saw a different side of Duhan there as he stepped and accelerated there.
“His finish for the last try was similar to two years ago (11-6 win) when he finished in the other corner.
“It was a great finish but that first try was fantastic, and one that makes the Scotland supporters go crazy in the stands and silences everyone else because you don’t see a try like that very often.”
Scotland had to come from behind as they continued their recent dominance of this game.
Although Van Der Merwe’s eye-catching effort added to Huw Jones’ opener, they trailed 13-12 at the break after a Max Malins double and Owen Farrell’s penalty.
England, playing under Steve Borthwick for the first time, extended that advantage to 20-12 thanks to an Ellis Genge pass.
But the Scots hit back through striker Ben White and runner-up Van Der Merwe to secure a third straight win over England in a row.
Scotland received a startling traveling support in London, in stark contrast to two years ago when they won behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions.
“I felt a lot of emotions at the final whistle,” Townsend said. “I don’t know whether it was the noise or the event.
“I never came close to winning here when I was a player and doing it now when you’re part of a winning team. Two years ago there was no crowd here, so it was emotional to do it today.
“We celebrate our wins so we had a bit of fun in the dressing room.”
Borthwick’s debut ended in painful disappointment and he admitted that his team wasted a great opportunity to fight back for the Calcutta Cup.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the result,” he said. “Scotland have dominated this game in recent years and I thought they were very good.
“They didn’t get many chances but they took the chances they did get ruthlessly. We have to make sure we limit those chances. They moved the ball very well from deep attack.
“We’ve seen some growth, especially on the attacking side of the game. The team looked like they had points and try-scoring ability. But we want to win and we are disappointed that we didn’t.
“We scored a couple of goals in that first half that really came out of nowhere.
“The team responded very well because if you had regenerated a bit, the team wouldn’t have reacted the way they did.
“It was a credit to the players to go in at half-time. At 20-12 up, we shouldn’t have let that game get away from us, but we did.
“We’ll be watching him closely and part of growing as a team is going through pain. We could have won that game but we didn’t.”