Van der Merwe hat-trick seals Calcutta cup for Scotland

Van der Merwe hat-trick seals Calcutta cup for Scotland

Duhan van der Merwe etched his name further into Calcutta Cup folklore with a sublime hat-trick as Scotland beat England 30-21 to lift the famous trophy for the fourth year in a row.

The wing scored twice in the first half, including a magical solo effort from 50 metres out, as Scotland overturned an early deficit handed to them by George Furbank’s early try.

He completed his treble at the start of the second period, latching on to Finn Russell’s perfectly-judged crossfield kick, and Russell contributed the remaining 15 points with the boot as Scotland continued their excellent recent run in this fixture.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso’s first England try gave Steve Borthwick’s side late hope but the visitors must now reflect on losing four consecutive games against Scotland in this Championship for the first time since 1896.

Van der Merwe has history of a different sort approaching. His Scotland tally now stands at 26 – six of which have been against England – and he is just one short of Stuart Hogg’s all-time record for his country.



The game kicked off amid the anticipated raucous atmosphere in the Scottish capital but, to begin with at least, the hosts resembled rabbits caught in the headlights.

Pierre Schoeman’s early knock-on inside his own 22 was one of several early handling errors and they met an England side who were ready to pounce.

Steve Borthwick’s men started with the bit between their teeth and went ahead when an electric move ended with Elliot Daly releasing George Furbank, who gleefully dived over to open the scoring inside five minutes of his first Test start since 2022.

George Ford added the extras and later added a penalty to stretch England’s lead to 10 at the end of a one-sided opening 15 minutes which showed no sign of what was to come.

There were several throwbacks at play in the makings of Scotland’s comeback. They reduced the deficit when, out of nowhere, Sione Tuipulotu released Huw Jones with a perfectly-timed pass and for a moment it seemed like 2018 all over again as the centre raced clear towards the line.

Unlike six years ago, he couldn’t finish the job himself this time as a combination of Furbank and Tommy Freeman scrambled back to tackle him. What he could do, however, was pop the ball up for Van der Merwe to power over on the right and bring Scotland right back into it, Russell’s conversion reducing the deficit to three.

The giant wing was at it again on the half-hour mark as Scotland turned the game on its head.

Furbank coughed up possession and Jones caught the loose ball before finding Van der Merwe on the halfway line. He stepped outside Ben Earl, evaded a sprawling Henry Slade and had enough gas in the tank to dive over in the corner before Freeman could intervene for a score which contained echoes of his solo effort at Twickenham last year.

Russell again converted from the corner and the fly-half soon slotted a penalty as Scotland, who had visited England’s 22 just three times, extended their advantage to a scarcely believable 17-10.

Ford kept his side in touch with a 35-metre drop goal four minutes before the end of a breathless first half which certainly lived up to the pre-match billing.



Cameron Redpath was introduced for Tuipulotu at half time and it did not take the Bath centre, who made such an impressive international debut in this fixture three years ago, long to make an impact this time around.

After Scotland stole an England lineout, a Russell kick was charged down but Redpath was first to it. He spun clear of a string of white shirts to maraud deep into England territory and when the ball was recycled, Russell put boot to ball once more and it bounced perfectly for van der Merwe to complete his hat-trick.

The fly-half's conversion made it 24-13 and though Ford's penalty reduced the gap shortly afterwards, replacement George Martin dropped the restart as the visitors' early confidence began to evade them.

Russell took his individual tally to 12 points with a straightforward penalty and England rung the changes with 20 minutes left on the clock, as Fin Smith and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso were introduced with the aim of sparking fresh life in to the backline.

The young Exeter wing did just that. Less than a minute after another cleanly struck Russell penalty sailed through the upright, Feyi-Waboso hit a great line from Ben Spencer's pop pass and raced through unchallenged to take his side back within nine - a deficit which stayed in place when Smith's conversion struck the post.

England continued to ask questions of the Scotland defence but any chance they had of mounting a late fightback were quashed when Ollie Lawrence's pass had too much on it for Ben Earl and drifted into touch.

The closing stages brought a rare sight as a player received a standing ovation having been sent to the sin-bin. The reason? That player was Duhan van der Merwe, whose latest deadly display against England will make him the toast of his nation for years to come.

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