England keep Scotland scoreless

England scored two tries in difficult conditions to defeat Scotland 20-0 on a crumbling Murrayfield pitch on Saturday.

The Murrayfield pitch was in arguably its poorest state for decades, with the patches of churned up turf a glaring backdrop to an otherwise fantastic occasion; on this evidence, the new hybrid surface can't come soon enough.

It was the English pack who made the most of these testing conditions. They were a step ahead of the Scots at the breakdown as Ireland had been in Dublin, and their line speed was outstanding in the first 40 minutes. The Scots' attack was often static and passive, and its deficiencies were brutally exposed as players found themselves with no time on the ball, and no option but to brace themselves for the oncoming white charge.

Danny Care got up to his old tricks early on to open the scoring. With a penalty advantage being played, and England's maul on the home 22 going nowhere, Care struck his second drop-goal in as many weeks; having achieved the same feat in Paris a week ago.

The penalty count was rising against Scotland at the breakdown, and it was from a Jim Hamilton infringement that yielded the first try of the match. Farrell booted play to within 10 metres of the Scots' line, and after the pack were held up short, centre Luther Burrell picked a smart line off his flyhalf to crash over for his second try in as many games.

Farrell converted a penalty for a commanding 13-0 lead on the half-hour mark.

The second half started in an exciting fashion, with young English winger Jack Nowell making a scintillating break. It appeared a try-scoring chance had gone when Stuart Hogg brought Nowell down on the 22, but the ball found its way back to the winger, who showed good feet and timing of his pass to send fullback Brown round under the posts.

And so it was to finish; a game England never looked like losing, Lancaster's only gripe was the win was not a more handsome one. Much to ponder for Scott Johnson, but these problems are none he has not faced before.

England – Tries: Luther Burrell, Mike Brown. Conversions: Owen Farrell (2). Penalties: Owen Farrell (2).

Scotland – 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c) 8 David Denton, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Moray Low, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant.
Subs: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Johnnie Beattie, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Max Evans.


Photo: Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images