England laid down a big marker
Sat, 02 Feb 2013 17:47
English forwards laid the platform
They may have allowed some late points by Scotland, but England laid down a big marker when they won their opening Six Nations match 38-18 at Twickenham on Saturday.
The win - in which the English scored four well-worked tries to the two efforts of the Scots - was based on the powerful England pack.
As always the Scots were brave for most of the first half, trailing just 11-19 at the half-time break.
However, two tries in a 10-minute period after the break took the game away from the visitors and ensured the other teams would take notice of England - runners up behind Wales last year and the only team to beat New Zealand in 2012.
Scotland's first match under Australian interim coach Scott Johnson, assisted by ex-England forward Dean Ryan, saw them score the first try of the 131st meeting between rugby's oldest international rivals as New Zealand-born wing Sean Maitland crossed on his Test debut.
But England, fresh from their record-breaking 38-21 win over world champions New Zealand last time out, hit back through Chris Ashton's 17th try in 30 Tests.
And with flyhalf Owen Farrell landing five out of five goal-kicks in the opening period, England led 19-11 at half-time.
That became 24-11 when centre Billy Twelvetrees marked his Test debut with a try shortly after the break and lock Geoff Parling increased England's lead with his first international try.
Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg, in a move started in front of his own line, scored a fine try 10 minutes from time but England replacement scrumhalf Danny Care rounded off the try-count on the stroke of full-time.
England started brightly, with Twelvetrees, in for the injured Manu Tuilagi, involved in several promising moves after Farrell's second minute penalty.
But it was Scotland, searching for only their fifth Twickenham victory in 46 matches, who scored the first try, in the 10th minute.
Hogg burst through a gap in England's defence between wing Mike Brown and prop Dan Cole before brushing aside a weak tackle from fullback Alex Goode.
The ball went inside to scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw and after prop Ryan Grant had been held up, Laidlaw passed to Maitland and he went in at the right corner.
Laidlaw missed the conversion and Scotland's lead was short-lived, with Farrell landing another penalty to make it 6-5 to England.
Farrell and Laidlaw then exchanged penalties, with Scotland, showing six changes from the side beaten 21-15 by Tonga last time out - a defeat that led to Andy Robinson's resignation as coach - eager to run the ball.
However, England eventually managed to retain possession long enough to score their first try 10 minutes before half-time.
Scotland flyhalf Ruaridh Jackson's kick was charged down and Parling surged forward.
Twelvetrees advanced into the 22 and, after Joe Launchbury had gone close, it was wing Ashton who grounded the ball.
Farrell added the conversion and England were 16-8 in front.
That became 19-8 when, after a high tackle by Scotland No.8 Johnnie Beattie, Farrell landed a penalty from just short of the half-way line.
But Laidlaw's penalty on the stroke of half-time reduced England's interval lead to eight points.
However, that became a 15-point advantage in the 42nd minute when scrum-half Ben Youngs fed Twelvetrees and the Gloucester midfielder, taking the crash ball at pace, went over for a try that Farrell duly converted.
It looked as if England had put the match beyond Scotland's reach when Launchbury crossed only for his 'try' to be disallowed by Irish referee Alain Rolland for a high tackle by hooker Tom Youngs earlier in the move.
But barely a minute later after Ben Youngs's sniping break, Farrell's long cut-out pass found Parling, who went over in the corner.
Farrell missed his first goal-kick in seven attempts but England were now 20 points in front at 31-11.
Scotland refused to fold, though, and were rewarded with a converted try in the 70th minute.
England replacement back Toby Flood was well-tackled by Richie Gray and David Denton forced a turnover.
Maitland kicked on and found Hogg, who then won the race to his own fly-hack before Care had the last word.
Man of the match: Craig Laidlaw made a brave attempt to keep Scotland in the game and succeeded for long stages in the first half. And Scottish No.8 Johnnie Beattie at times fought a lone battle up front. However, once the England pack had taken control there was always only going to be one winner. England backs like Ben Youngs and Billy Twelvetrees were responsible for some sparkling moments, but our award goes to a forward, as they are the men who laid the platform for an impressive win. Ben Morgan had an impressive first half, before being replaced by James Haskell. Geoff Parling and Joe Launchbury were also impressive. But we have opted for England captain Chris Robshaw - who led by example, doing the hard yards during the first half, which allowed his team to cut loose after the break.
Moment of the match: This one could have gone to the 43rd minute try by English debutant Billy Twelvetrees, who scored in the corner after sustained pressure from England. It was a try that finally broke the Scottish resistance. However, our award goes to the 71st-minute score by Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg - a delightful try in which the Scots finally showed some ambition and enterprise, with Richie Gray's hands, Sean Maitland's grubber and finally another boot ahead by Hogg all contributing to a late consolation effort.
Villain of the match: This one goes to England hooker Tom Youngs - for his moment of madness, when he had a try cancelled through his thuggery. He throttled an opponent at a stage when his team was in complete control.
Tries: Ashton, Twelvetrees, Parling, Care
Cons: Farrell 3
Pens: Farrell 4
Tries: Maitland, Hogg
Pens: Laidlaw 2
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 (captain), 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 (captain), 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.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)
AFP & rugby365
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