Scotland blown away as England prove too strong
Ellis Genge scores the only try of the game (pic: SNS Group)
Scotland 6 (0) England 13 (3)
England’s strength was enough to win back the Calcutta Cup in a match defined as much by the filthy conditions as by any tactics.
The hosts had their moments but found few opportunities to break through a robust English defence and may have been left to wonder how much they missed the absent Finn Russell.
Wind and rain made it difficult for either team to find any consistency, leading to errors and missed kicks. It was the lowest scoring first half since 1966 when Scotland went on to win.
However, it was not to be the outcome this time, nor was there any indication that Scotland would repeat last year’s Twickenham heroics when they reduced a seemingly impossible deficit to draw and hold on to the trophy.
This time, it was the boot of Owen Farrell who once again proved the difference. He made up for missing a penalty on eight minutes by putting the visitors ahead three minutes later. However, the wind was again a factor when the captain missed for a second time on 26 minutes and helping to keep Scotland in the game.
Scotland began the second half more strongly, winning a penalty 10 metres from the England line two minutes into the restart but choosing to play for the try. Their pressure was rewarded with Hastings scoring their first penalty of the match after 45 minutes.
Notwithstanding the weather, familiar weaknesses crept into Scotland’s game, with more handling errors and more lost line-outs. They struggled to take advantage of a high percentage of possession in the England half.
England were also battling the gales and on 65 minutes Farrell missed a third penalty even after Ellis Genge was called upon to hold the ball in place on the tee for the kicker.
The visitors were denied a try when Hogg was judged to have grounded the ball between the posts before Farrell pounced. But from the resulting five metre scrum Genge was successful as England forced the ball forward. Farrell converted to give the visitors what turned out to be an unassailable 10-3 lead.
Stuart Hogg: gutted (pic: SNS Group)
With five minutes remaining the England skipper scored his second penalty to put the game beyond doubt. A late Hastings penalty merely reduced the margin.
Speaking after the match, Scotland skipper Stuart Hogg said: “We’re gutted. We worked incredibly hard but came up short. England managed to control the ball and play in the right areas.
“Credit to England who squeezed us in our own half. We didn’t make the most of our opportunities.
“We’ve done some good things in the last couple of games and will get back to the drawing board on Monday.”
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said: “I thought the way we played in the second half was excellent, given the conditions.
“To show what we did for the first 15 minutes to force errors and penalties was good. It was just that five minute period that England got into our 22 that we have to remedy.
“In those conditions, you are often better off not having the ball. We haven’t had a game in the rain for years and it’s hard for players. These are international class players and it shows how hard it is.”
Scotland: pens – Hastings (2)
England: Tries – Genge (1) pens – Farrell (2) Conversions – Farrell (1)
Scotland: 15-Stuart Hogg (captain), 14-Sean Maitland, 13-Huw Jones, 12-Sam Johnson, 11-Blair Kinghorn, 10-Adam Hastings, 9-Ali Price; 1-Rory Sutherland, 2-Fraser Brown, 3-Zander Fagerson, 4-Scott Cummings, 5-Jonny Gray, 6-Jamie Ritchie, 7-Hamish Watson, 8-Magnus Bradbury.
Replacements: 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 (captain), 11-Elliot Daly, 10-George Ford, 9-Willi Heinz; 1-Mako Vunipola, 2-Jamie George, 3-Kyle Sinckler, 4-Maro Itoje, 5-George Kruis, 6-Lewis Ludlam, 7-Sam Underhill, 8-Tom Curry
Replacements: 16-Tom Dunn, 17-Ellis Genge, 18-Will Stuart, 19-Joe Launchbury, 20-Courtney Lawes, 21-Ben Earl, 22-Ben Youngs, 23-Ollie Devoto
In today’s other match Ireland beat Wales 24-14.