Scotland A claimed a hard-fought 13-9 victory over England Saxons at Kingston Park on what was a proud night for North East rugby.
An enthusiastic crowd braved the lashing sleet on the terraces as top-class rugby took centre stage at the home of the Falcons.
Scotland took a first minute lead courtesy of a try from Saracens winger Duncan Taylor, who gathered up an up-and-under before racing in at the corner. Tom Heathcote converted from an acute angle and added a penalty moments later to enhance his side’s lead to 10-0. However two George Ford penalties in quick succession reduced the gap to 10-6 at the interval.
Ford and Heathcote exchanged penalties with the score poised at 13-9 in favour of the Scots with the latter defending for their lives in the closing stages of the contest.
Despite a late rally from Jon Callard’s men, the Saxons were unable to power their way over the line to the anguish of the majority of the spectators inside Kingston Park.
The late onslaught included a string of five-metre scrums as Scotland’s defensive resolve was tested to the limit. Two Scotland props were sin-binned and an injury in the pack during this period of English pressure led to uncontested scrums.
Scotland stood firm to earn the bragging rights ahead of tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations opener between England and Scotland.
England Saxons: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 George Ford, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 1 Matt Mullan, 2 Joe Gray, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 4 Graham Kitchener, 5 George Robson, 6 George Kruis, 7 Will Fraser, 8 Jordan Crane (c)
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 George Lowe
Scotland A: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Duncan Taylor, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Sean Kennedy, 1 Alasdair Dickinson, 2 Steven Lawrie, 3 Jon Welsh, 4 Tim Swinson, 5 Tom Ryder, 6 Stuart McInally, 7 Richie Vernon, 8 Ryan Wilson (c)
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Grant Shiells, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 James Eddie, 21 Jamie Stevenson, 22 Ben Cairns, 23 Dougie Fife