Monday, March 14, 2011
England are one win away from their first Six Nations Grand Slam in eight years, following an attritional 22-16 victory over Scotland at Twickenham this weekend.
It was a tough match, with an unconvincing display from the home side who were given a torrid time at the breakdown by a fiery Scottish side. Indeed Scotland were in contention throughout the match, and the result could have easily gone the other way until a late try from replacement Tom Croft.
A superb individual effort from Max Evans, however, made sure that there was a nervous finish for Red Rose fans. The first half was a battle of the boots between Chris Paterson and Toby Flood and although the Scots threatened England's line twice, they were denied on both occasions. Only a last minute drop goal from Ruaridh Jackson saw a turgid half finish 9-9.
In the second half, the momentum began to swing back in favour of the home side when reinforcements in the shape of Wilkinson, Shaw, Croft and Thompson, brought their 232 caps to the fore.
These changes, and the losses of Kelly Brown to injury and John Barclay to the sin-bin for Scotland, signalled a change in fortunes, and despite a try-saving tackle from Paterson on Foden, Croft barged over for the inevitable England score.
England manager Martin Johnson admitted it was not the best performance from his side, and that they will have to improve significantly if they are to defeat the Irish at Lansdowne Road:
"We won ugly" he said. "We highlighted their work at the breakdown all week and we knew exactly what to expect but we failed to execute. In a nutshell, there were far too many errors, far too many turnovers and we got out of jail a little."
Elsewhere, Any Robinson was disappointed. "I take my hat off to the lads. They laid their bodies on the line. I thought it was a very good Test match. I just said to the players I was delighted with the way they went out and tried to play today, both with ball in hand and defensively." said the Scotland coach.
Below are the two tries, and a short montage piece. If you'd like to view full highlights, including the kicks at goal and a few of the chances, you can do so here (UK only) .
Thanks to the BBC