Borderer Darcy Graham calls on Scotland team-mates to follow up Calcutta Cup victory with win against Wales

Hawick’s Darcy Graham is urging his Scotland team-mates to build on their Calcutta Cup victory yesterday, February 5, by winning in Wales next weekend to mount a challenge for this year’s Six Nations title.

By Darin Hutson
Sunday, 6th February 2022, 7:11 pm
Darcy Graham going past Joe Marchant during the Six Nations match between Scotland and England at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium yesterday (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Darcy Graham going past Joe Marchant during the Six Nations match between Scotland and England at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium yesterday (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The Scots opened their campaign with a 20-17 victory over England at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium to retain the Calcutta Cup after winning it in London a year ago and Graham now wants to see them maintain their momentum.

The 24-year-old believes victory in Cardiff on Saturday would show Scotland have the winning mentality required to claim their first champtionship title for over 20 years.

“The boys were unreal," said the Edinburgh winger. “It's hard to find the words to describe how you feel after a game like that, but winning that game is just one part of the puzzle. We need to back it up now when we go down to Wales. It's a tough away fixture.

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Stuart Hogg celebrating with the Calcutta Cup after his side beat England in the Six Nations yesterday (Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

“We’ve won Calcutta Cup games in the past and then not backed it up. This is a huge opportunity for us.

“We've started well so hopefully we can go on and do something very special.”

Graham set up the hosts’ opening try for debutant Ben White and then was there to receive a Finn Russell cross-field kick, leading to Luke Cowan-Dickie putting the ball forward and out of play, conceding a crucial penalty try.

Graham was delighted his side got the seven points but disappointed not to get the chance to touch down himself.

“I was gutted,” he said. “I was absolutely raging that he slammed it forward, but it was the right decision to give the penalty try. He made no attempt to get up and catch it so it was a penalty try all day long.”

Scotland endured a nervy finale, with several reset scrums in their own half in the closing stages, but Graham was the man who seized possession for his side right at the death, allowing Stuart Hogg to kick the ball out and seal a hard-fought victory.

“I was just determined not to let them score,” said Graham. “I made a mistake about 10 minutes before that so I wanted to make up for it.

“If I make a mistake, I always try and back it up with something positive, and thankfully I did on this occasion.”

Fellow ex-Hawick player Stuart Hogg was full of praise for the role played by Graham in coming from seven points down to beat England in round one of the Six Nations for the second year in a row.

According to Hogg, 29, the Scots’ first back-to-back Calcutta Cup wins in 38 years are proof that they can compete for the title in earnest.

“I am chuffed to bits. We wanted to come out here and put on a show and show what we are about,” said the team captain.

“At times, we got it right and at times we were up against it. England are a fantastic side but we are absolutely delighted with that.

“For Darcy Graham to get that turnover right at the end, he is a pocket rocket – 5ft 9in and he managed to get that turnover for us.

“I am so delighted. It was a full squad effort. We believe in ourselves as individuals and in ourselves as a collective.

“I said this time last year that this was the start of something special and next week is a challenge to back it up and do it again.

“I am not going to get carried away. This was one game.

“We will go back to the drawing board on Monday and make sure that we work incredibly hard to back it up and be the best version of ourselves next Saturday.”

Head coach Gregor Townsend added: “I think we had three lineout plays where we didn’t win the ball straight away and we lost the ball in the first phase, but it was great to see a play executed really well through the team, especially Darcy and Ben White with his support.

“We felt we hadn’t fired a huge amount of shots in the first half, but we were still leading and in the second half we had a slight advantage in the wind, but, having said that, the third quarter was probably the poorest part of our game for us.

“We’re all thankful and obviously proud of how we played in that final quarter, which was telling.”

Hogg and Graham were joined by fellow Borderer Rory Sutherland in the Scots’ starting line-up.

Next Saturday’s game in Wales kicks off at 2.15pm.