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England see off Scotland

02nd February 2013 17:46

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Billy Twelvetrees try celebration England v Scotland

Debut try: Billy Twelvetrees

A strong performance from England saw them defeat Scotland 38-18 at Twickenham to retain the Calcutta Cup.

The hosts enjoyed large portions of possession in both halves and arguably should have come away with more points, despite racking up four tries through Chris Ashton, debutant Billy Twelvetrees, Geoff Parling and Danny Care.

Scotland were not without their moments - a brilliant break from full-back Stuart Hogg leading to the first try of the afternoon for the visitors - but they were forced into defence too often and conceded needless penalties at the breakdown when momentum was behind them.

Owen Farrell produced one of his best displays yet in international rugby, a long pass securing England's third try, whilst Twelvetrees lived up to the billing he has been given in recent weeks in the build-up to the beginning of the Six Nations.

The victory means that England will travel to Dublin with confidence, but also aware that there is plenty to work on if they are to finish this year's championship with a title.

A burst from Ben Morgan set England on their way early on, winning the penalty phases later which Farrell converted for a 3-0 lead after two minutes.

England controlled the opening phases, going close with attacks from Wood and then Ashton with little errors causing them to lose possession - but it was a stunning break from Hogg that brought Scotland into the game as he scorched though frozen English tacklers and ended up close to the line.

Scotland controlled possession metres out before Greig Laidlaw drew the tackle of Geoff Parling to put Sean Maitland in the corner to score on debut.

Farrell responded with a penalty to give England a 6-5 lead. A loose pass from Richie Gray then put Scotland under intense pressure on their own 22, England winning the penalty at the breakdown for Farrell to add another three points.

England were immediately penalised from the restart for entering the side of a ruck, handing Laidlaw a penalty chance on the edge of the 22 which he duly converted to narrow the gap to a single point at 9-8.

The hosts struggled to convert several chances in the red zone before a chargedown off the back of Farrell created another opening - Twelvetrees gliding through a gap before Chris Ashton squeezed under two tacklers to score England's first try.

Neither side was able to establish a foothold in the opposition's half during the closing stages of the opening 40 minutes, until a high tackle on Morgan led to another penalty for Farrell to send through the posts.

Johnnie Beattie responded with a powerful run for the Scots which ended in a penalty nearly 30 metres out, Laidlaw converting to leave the score at 19-11 at the interval.

England started the second half with a bang - Billy Twelvetrees eventually crashing over for a try on debut after a great pass from Ben Youngs.

Farrell continued to turn up the pressure in an assured performance, pinning Scotland back into their half. Any momentum generated by the Scots a few minutes later was then killed off for a simple penalty, putting England back on the attack.

The hosts fluidity and power eventually proved too much for Scotland to handle, with Joe Launchbury appearing to cross over for a third try before the play was called back for a high tackle.

A burst from Ben Youngs however threw England back into Scottish territory, Farrell spinning a brilliant wide pass to Geoff Parling to go over in the corner for England's third try.

Scotland's defence continued to struggle throughout the second half, but a turnover near their own life breathed life into their attack, Alex Goode was wrapped up by four blue shirts to concede a penalty in his own half with Jackson kicking to the corner.

Their efforts though were in vain as replacement David Denton knocked on heading for the try line. The resulting scrum did not go England's way and Scotland had another chance, but their efforts once again were undone at the breakdown.

England continued to show the greater invention in attack but a breakaway score from Hogg gave Scotland hope - Maitland's kick gathered by the rapid Hogg who scored in the corner with Laidlaw converting.

An error from Mike Brown then saw him penalised for holding on inside England's 22, handing Scotland an opportunity with a five metre lineout which they failed to make the most of.

England switched the momentum back their way and finished things off with a fourth try in the 80th minute, replacement Danny Care sniping around the fringes to leave the final score at 38-18.

Man of the match: Excellent handling, pace and kicking from Billy Twelvetrees on debut saw him cap it off with a try on debut.

Moment of the match: After being disallowed a third try, Ben Youngs had Scotland scampering and ultimately led to the score from Geoff Parling, putting the game out of reach.

Villain of the match: Scotland's 19 missed tackles meant that today was always going to be a struggle.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries: Ashton, Twelvetrees, Parling, Care
Cons: Farrell 3
Pens: Farrell 3

For Scotland:
Tries: Maitland, Hogg
Cons: Laidlaw
Pens: Laidlaw 2

The teams:

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 David Strettle.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Kelly Brown (capt), 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 Moray Low, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Alastair Kellock, 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Max Evans.

by Ben Coles
@bencoles_

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