Beating England is no longer the sum of Scotland's ambitions

The Scots picked up their fourth win in a row over England for the first time in 52 years at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Insight: Beating England is no longer the sum of Scotland’s ambitions following Calcutta Cup win SNS Group

There are ways to make history and there are ways to mark making history and the way Scotland went about their momentous achievements on Saturday night spoke volumes about the aspirations of this team.

Four wins in a row over England for the first time in 52 years. Four consecutive Calcutta Cups for the first time since Queen Victoria was on the throne. Duhan van der Merwe becoming the first ever Scotland player to score a hat-trick of tries in rugby’s oldest international fixture.

And the scenes among the victorious Scots? Understated. Job done. On to the next game.

Of course there was joy, there was relief and there was a great connection between the players and the jubilant Murrayfield crowd as the team took their lap of honour.

But no longer is beating England the sum of Scottish ambitions. Another game – an important one – but its four championship points just like the others.

The mindset shift for those who wear the Thistle is complete. No early English onslaught could spark panic in the ranks. They trusted their quality, their grit and their physicality to emerge comfortable winners over a team that used to stab dread into the hearts of Scottish rugby fans.

The momentum began to shift in 2018 when Finn Russell inspired the Scots to break a ten-year wait and win 25-13 at Murrayfield. The year before, England had pummelled them 61-21.

Since then England have held the Calcutta Cup aloft just once, in the eye of Storm Ciara in Edinburgh in 2020.

Fast forward to this Saturday and the body language of the men in white jerseys told a story of a team that knows they are currently second best in this historic contest.

It is often erroneously said that the Calcutta Cup means more to Scotland than England. Do not believe a word of it. The English players’ pride is beaten by this run of just one win in eight meetings. They are desperate to get back on top of the rivalry.

And that makes this Scotland side all the more special. They are taking on an England side that is fired up and full of quality.

But Gregor Townsend’s side remain tantalisingly short of reaching full potential. It was glimpsed for 50 minutes in Cardiff but nearly fell flat on their faces, going from 27-0 up to a squeaky 27-26 by full time.

Against France they should have killed off the game as a contest yet allowed Les Bleus to snatch a win in Edinburgh which robs them of a chance of competing for a Grand Slam.

Italy in Rome next up is a banana skin but one that this side has proven adept at side stepping. With the strength in depth off the Scottish bench it could afford chances to the likes of Ewan Ashman, Andy Christie and Cameron Redpath to play from the start.

If a performance that shows off the sum makings of this Scotland is going to come they will need to arrive in Dublin on the final weekend. The Six Nations title is a long shot but the Triple Crown will be there to be won.

Ireland still lay claim to being the best international rugby team on earth. They are a frightening machine built under head coach Andy Farrell, and Scotland have not worked out how to get the better of them.

Until now? They will have to be better than they have shown so far in the 2024 Six Nations. But there is no doubt the winning mentality exists to finally make that leap.

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