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Six Nations: Can 2022 match past Calcutta Cup classics?

Saturday will see the 127th instalment of the oldest fixture in international rugby as England and Scotland compete for the Calcutta Cup.

The hosts are currently 13/10 to win at Murrayfield on Saturday, with England at 5/7 to make a winning start to the highly-anticipated 2022 Six Nations campaign, while the Red Rose are 11/10 to win the tournament outright.

There have been some attritional and some thrilling clashes between these two old rivals over the years and here are five grudge matches which stood out from the crowd.

Scotland 18 - 30 England - Murrayfield 1980

It was skipper Bill Beaumont who was carried off the field at Murrayfield on the shoulders of supporters but it was another man who should have been claiming the plaudits.

Winger John Carleton bagged himself a fine hat-trick of tries as he helped the Red Rose wrapped up a first Grand Slam title in the Five Nations for 23 years.

To do it in the home of their old rivals will have also been extra sweet for an England side that had waited since 1957 for a slam.

Scotland 6 - 9 England - Murrayfield 1988

Admittedly not one of the most attractive games of rugby union ever seen, England edged out a tense encounter at Murrayfield with fly-half Rob Andrew nailing the crucial drop goal to win the game in the Scottish capital.

It was the post-match activities that went down in Calcutta Cup legend, with John Jeffrey and Dean Richards finding themselves in hot water after the original cup was damaged during the post-match festivities in Edinburgh.

Since then players are no longer allowed to get their hands on the original trophy and a replica has been used since.

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Scotland 13-7 England - Murrayfield 1990

A match that has gone down in Scottish folklore, as skipper David Sole slowly marched his Scotland side on the field at Murrayfield before beating England to win the 1990 Grand Slam.

With a backdrop of political unrest, the match took on extra meaning both north and south of the border before kick-off.

Scotland won the day, with Tony Stanger scoring arguably the most famous Scots’ try of all time following a run from John Jeffrey, a floated pass from Gary Armstrong and a chip ahead from full-back Gavin Hastings.

It was to be the last time Scotland won a Grand Slam, with the country’s only other title coming in the last Five Nations Championship in 1999.

Scotland 19-13 England - Murrayfield 2000

Again, another game that was not easy on the eye but an iconic Calcutta Cup game nonetheless as Scotland ground out a win in the pouring rain at Murrayfield in 2000.

For an England side that would go on to win their first World Cup three years later, the Red Rose had an outstanding side with the likes of Jason Leonard, Martin Johnson, Neil Back, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jonny Wilkinson and Will Greenwood in their ranks.

England were going for a Grand Slam that wet and windy day in Edinburgh but it was the Scots who edged out an unlikely win thanks to a close-range try from fly-half Duncan Hodge.

England 38-38 Scotland - Twickenham 2019

On to what has been described not only as the best Calcutta Cup match but arguably one of the best Test matches in rugby union history.

Twickenham had been a miserable hunting ground for the Scots, having previously not won at Rugby HQ since 1983.

It looked like being another long afternoon for Scotland as England cruised their way to a 31-0 lead as the match approached half-time.

Jack Nowell opened the scoring after just two minutes, before Tom Curry crossed to give England a commanding 14-0 lead.

Tries from Joe Launchbury and Jonny May were to come and Scottish fans in the ground would have been forgiven for making plans for an early exit to perhaps take in other sights of London.

Scotland hooker Stuart McInally pulled back what looked simply as a consolation try just before half-time to make the scoreline 31-7 at the break.

Madness soon broke out in front of a stunned crowd at Twickenham as Scotland went on to see Darcy Graham bag a brace, Magnus Bradbury go over the line, Finn Russell to score from range and Sam Johnson cross the whitewash.

Scotland had turned it around and held a 38-31 lead going into the dying moments of the game, before a late converted try from George Ford saw the game drawn.

A breathless encounter and one that will take some beating to be classed as the greatest Calcutta Cup game of all-time.

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