Delight for Ben White, as England experience deja vu

It was a tough weekend’s viewing for English rugby fans, as Scotland came from behind to win the Calcutta Cup for the third successive time.

London Irish’s Ben White was key to Scotland’s victory, ensuring at least someone based in west London was left smiling after the first round of Six Nations matches.

The scrum-half, who played for England Under 20’s before switching allegiance, scored a try on his full international debut against England a year ago, so there was a sense of deja vu when he again found himself on the scoresheet at Twickenham.

White and Scotland will hope they can now go on to challenge for the Six Nations Championship, having failed to win the annual tournament since Italy joined it back in 2000. Actually doing so is easier said than done though, with Ireland and Six Nations champions France both still to come and likely to provide sterner tests.

It’s the Irish who are fancied to secure their first Championship since 2018, not only due to their position at the head of the world rankings, but also given they have potentially crucial home advantage against France next weekend. It has all the hallmarks of an early title decider, as the French aim to establish themselves as one of the most successful Six Nations rugby teams by becoming the first to win back-to-back Grand Slams in the Six Nations era.

For England, it looks like a year of mediocrity under new coach Steve Borthwick awaits, though first they must focus on defeating Italy who themselves are not the pushovers they once were.