Owen Farrell kicked eight points to ensure England beat Scotland 13-6 at Murrayfield on Saturday to reclaim the Calcutta Cup.
After a temporary derailment against France last week, it appears Eddie Jones’ self-hatched plan to transform this England side into the greatest team in rugby union history is back on track.
With torrid weather conditions wreaking havoc inside Murrayfield, it’s quite understandable why this contest won’t go down as a great advert of the game. There was virtually no rugby played – particularly in the first half – with both sides instead committing to a game of aerial ping-pong. The lineouts were a mess with both hookers struggling to throw in straight as a result of the gusting wind.
Scotland played with the wind in the first half, but were left frustrated and handicapped by nine handling errors in the half, while England did not make one. As an illustration of the wind impact, Farrell skewed two relatively easy penalty attempts, but he did land one to send England into the break 3-0 up.
The Scots made a shaky start to the second stanza, when the exit kick was charged down inside their 22. Fortunately for the hosts, they were let off the hook as ball rolled over the dead-ball line. Up to that point it had been a forward-orientated clash with no linebreaks either way. But from the 22 drop-out, the ball fell kindly for Rory Sutherland. And in fitting fashion, the loosehead prop went on a searing run through the heart of the England defence.
England tracked back well, but conceded a penalty and flyhalf Adam Hastings lined up up a successful kick to level the scores.
The aerial battle continued after that, but England came off second best as they launched four kicks directly into touch. That had Jones making several changes and the momentum quickly shifted back in their favour.
Farrell pulled another penalty kick and then had a potential try disallowed after replays confirmed Scotland captain Stuart Hogg had spilled the ball in the in-goal area, but did enough with his body to apply downwards pressure on the ball before it squirted loose and into the path of the lurking Farrell.
But Scotland’s luck run out moments later, when Ellis Genge powered over to score the game’s only try directly from the 5m scrum. Farrell and Hastings traded penalties in the last five minutes of play, but the contest was already over by then. Hastings’ late effort only ensured that Scotland came away with a losing bonus point.
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 8, 2020
Scotland – Penalty: Adam Hastings (2).
England – Try: Ellis Genge. Conversion: Owen Farrell. Penalties: Farrell (2).
Scotland – 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Subs: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Nick Haining, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Chris Harris.
England – 15 George Furbank, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Ben Earl, 22 Ben Youngs, 23 Ollie Devoto.
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