Rugby: Scotland power to historic Six Nations win over England, Ireland outmuscle Wales

Duhan van der Merwe scored a superb hat-trick, as Scotland beat England 30-21 at Murrayfield on Sunday (NZ time) to claim a fourth successive championship win in the fixture for the first time since 1896.  

The winger, who scored two tries at Twickenham last season, cut through England's defence again as the Scots bounced back impressively from their heart-breaking defeat by France two weeks ago.

"I can't believe it to be honest, but I have to thank the boys for giving me the opportunity," Van der Merwe said.

"We had a really good first phase, there was a lot of space open and I knew Finn was going to kick it to me. Lucky for me it bounced in my hands and to get my first hat-trick against England is unbelievable."

Duhan van der Merwe en route to one of his three tries.
Duhan van der Merwe en route to one of his three tries. Photo credit: Getty Images

England started well but gifted Scotland opportunities with a series of errors and now are up against it as they seek to end their three-year run of winning only two Six Nations fixtures with Ireland and France to come. 

The visitors led after five minutes when fullback George Furbank showed exactly why he had been selected ahead of Freddie Steward, joining the line to collect a pass from Elliot Daly and dot down.

 Ford converted and added a penalty as England were in command but Scotland's - and England's nemesis Van der Merwe - somehow struck twice from nowhere to forge ahead.

In virtually their first attack, centre Huw Jones found a hole in England's blitz defence and offloaded for Van der Merwe to score in the right corner.

Ten minutes later, another England handling error enabled the Scots to shift it to Van der Merwe on the left and he stretched his long legs for a 60-metre run along the touchline to score. 

With Finn Russell converting both and adding a penalty, Scotland were 17-10 up before a superb George Ford drop goal closed the gap to 17-13, the third game in a row England have trailed at halftime.

They found a way to force victories over Italy and Wales but this time Scotland struck first when Russell picked out Van der Merwe with a cross-field kick and the ball bounced perfectly for the big winger who charge over for his hat-trick.

Russell extended the lead to 30-16 with two penalties and although replacement winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso slipped through a hole for his first international try, England were unable to score again in the last 15 minutes.

"I don't see many issues with how we played in the first half, we were a little bit loose with how we handed the ball over," England captain Jamie George said. 

"If you give the ball to Duhan van der Merwe and Finn Russell you know they can create a bit of magic and they did that," he added.

Ireland centre Bundee Aki.
Ireland centre Bundee Aki. Photo credit: Getty Images

Earlier, Grand slam-chasing Ireland made it three bonus-point Six Nations wins from three against Wales at the Aviva Stadium, racking up their 18th successive home win in the process with a 31-7 victory.

The hosts dominated the first half and led by 17-0 at the break thanks to tries from Dan Sheehan and James Lowe.

A penalty try for Wales and yellow card for Ireland's Tadhg Beirne just after halftime threatened to make things interesting.

Ireland mostly resumed control with 14 men, though a ragged second half remained competitive until Ciaran Frawley marked his first Six Nations start with a debut try on 67 minutes and Beirne added the bonus-point try at the death as Wales sank to their 10th defeat in their last 11 Six Nations game.

Ireland travel to England in two weeks before hoping to play for their second successive grand slam at home to Scotland on March 16.  

Wales have back-to-back home games against France and Italy, with the latter now a potential wooden spoon decider.