Scotland’s first win in 10 years, denying the Auld Enemy a Six Nations Grand Slam in the process, wasn’t the worst way for Jason White to start his test career.
In an interview with The Rugby Paper, the 77-times capped flanker admitted the against-the-odds 19-13 victory went by in a bit of a blur.
“Kicking off with a Calcutta Cup win against England was a fantastic way for me to start my international career,” he said.
“As a Scotland team, we hadn’t won anything that year so it was a huge result, especially as it denied England the Grand Slam.”
The Calcutta Cup is always special 🏆— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) January 5, 2021
Just over four weeks to go until the start of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations and what a game we have in the opening Round from Twickenham.
They've both held the trophy twice over the last four years, so who do you think will win in 2021? pic.twitter.com/BfoCMu9PPn
“Proud and scared”
Unsurprisingly motivation was not a problem for White given the magnitude of the occasion, and the pre-match rhetoric of coach Sir Ian McGeechan.
“Geech [McGeechan] slipped a little card under my hotel door informing me I was playing and then told the team meeting I would light up the game with my tackling, which was great but a lot to live up to,” he recalled in an interview with The Scotsman.
“On the morning of the match, I was excited and nervous and proud and scared. But when we ran out to Highland Cathedral, ticker tape everywhere, I was fine.
“I tried to find some internal motivation. As I was singing Flower of Scotland I thought about who I was playing for: Peterculter, where I was born, Aberdeen Wanderers, Mum and Dad sitting in the stand – oh, and the rest of the nation. Then I thought about how I was about to push my body to its limit and willingly inflict some harm on myself!”
White’s fellow former George Watson’s College pupil, Duncan Hodge scored all of Scotland’s points but the flanker’s contribution to the cause was equally important in a physical game decided by the spoiling tactics of the back-rows.
“It was a filthy day weather-wise, a proper Scottish day. I remember Lawrence Dallaglio scoring off a scrum early doors and thinking at the time that I’d made a big mistake but, looking back, it was a bit of a mix-up between me and Andy Nicol and how we defended the base of the scrum. After that, it all went by in a flash.”
White was involved in two more Calcutta Cup-winning teams, captaining the side to an equally hard-fought 18-12 victory at Murrayfield in 2006 before coming off the bench two years later in another try-less encounter, the 15-9 win completing a rare hat-trick.