Storm Ciara forces Scotland and England to play at a Murrayfield filled with silence and snow
England secured an emphatic victory over Scotland at Murrayfield this afternoon in what should have been a noisy and atmospheric arena - sadly it was like an afternoon at the library.
The match was supposed to be played at Scotstoun yesterday but was rearranged due to Storm Ciara. Played behind closed doors in Edinburgh, it was a stark contrast to the 14,000 largely French fans they had played in front of a week earlier.
Murrayfield is used to droves of fans storming its gates on match day, the fortress of Scottish rugby usually acting as an intimidating and formidable place to play. While the ground still looked impressive, the silence that enveloped every inch of the venue was more deafening than the 67,000 fans that pack out the ground for the men.
The men's game on Saturday experienced a wall of sound during the Scottish anthem and England's captain Owen Farrell was booed every time he kicked at goal. In comparison, the female players' voices were all that could be heard during the Flower of Scotland and God Save the Queen.
The silence was even more noticeable when England's Abby Dow scored a sensational first-half try as she ran half the length of the pitch, beating four defenders in the process.
The score deserved a roar in celebration but had less atmosphere than a school match with the whistle being louder than any cheer.
Arguably one of the most suspenseful moments in a rugby match is when the Television Match Official is called upon. The supporters in the ground are usually in a battle as to whether the try should be given, with cheers and boos fighting to drown one another out.
However, when the TMO was called upon in the 46th minute of this Six Nations clash, the chasm of silence took all the suspense out of the moment. It even stemmed the England celebration when Emily Scott's try was given, with the players just resetting for the next play.
To add insult to injury, the weather conditions got progressively worse throughout the afternoon. Though the winds had died down from Storm Ciara, the second half was coated with snow and all the players looked freezing and less than impressed.
In a break of play, Jess Breach could be seen to be visibly shaking with cold with staff running on with water bottles full of hot water to warm the players hands. It begs the question, were the conditions not worse than yesterday's postponed match?
Despite the wintry conditions and the non-exstent atmosphere, England put on an impressive eight-try performance to continue their title defence and Grand Slam pursuit.
Let's hope that their last three fixtures will come with the bonus point of a crowd.