England claim Calcutta Cup glory
March 21, 2009
Man of the match Riki Flutey crashes over for England's second try at Twickenham
© Getty Images
England clinched the Calcutta Cup with a 26-12 victory over Scotland in their Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Tries from winger Ugo Monye, centre Riki Flutey and Matthew Tait saw the hosts claim victory having dominated the clash in terms of territory and possession. Fly-half Toby Flood weighed in with eight points with the boot while replacement scrum-half Danny Care also kicked a drop goal.
Scotland fullback Chris Paterson kicked three penalties with fly-half Phil Godman adding a long-range effort for the visitors who were forced into a rearguard action for much of the game and were left to rue a string of missed opportunities and unforced errors.
The victory, England's third in this year's Championship, saw them climb to second in the table ahead of the title decider between Wales and Ireland in Cardiff later today. Scotland's campaign ends with a solitary victory over Italy, heaping pressure on coach Frank Hadden ahead of his review board next month.
England were able to field an unchanged line-up for the first time since their Rugby World Cup semi-final clash two years ago with Flood and openside Joe Worsley both being passed fit after picking up injuries in the impressive victory over France last weekend.
Scotland opted for one change with flanker Scott Gray earning recall four-and-a-half years after his last start while scrum-half and skipper Mike Blair recovered from a back injury to take his place at scrum-half.
Both sides showed a willingness to play in the early exchanges and the Scots more than held their own in the physical confrontations. And the visitors were soon rewarded for their endeavours when England scrum-half Harry Ellis was penalised at a ruck within range of the posts. Paterson stepped up to extend his 100% record in the Championship.
They almost stretched their lead moments later when Thom Evans pounced on a loose ball before scorching down the touchline but the winger was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Monye.
A nasty injury to Ellis on the quarter hour led to a lengthy delay with the No.9 eventually stretchered from the field to be replaced by Danny Care and the break in the action appeared to benefit England who subsequently raised their game.
However, penalties continued to hinder their progress with six in the opening quarter of the game while some stubborn Scottish defence added to their frustration. The hosts wrestled the lead back with Monye's first try for his country. Flood created the opening for his winger who held off Paterson and Max Evans to dot down in the corner but his fly-half was unable to add the extras.
England continued to stretch the Scotland with quick ball and some slick handling and their tremendous work rate demanded some desperate defence from the Scots. The pressure finally told when after several phases of play inside the 22,man of the match Flutey forced his way over - but they had to wait for the TMO to confirm the score. Flood found his range with the conversion to take the hosts out to a nine point lead.
A searing break from Blair cut the England defence wide open moments later in a rare opportunity for the Scots but his support was slow in coming and the move was soon snuffed out.
The hosts continued to turn the screw with replacement prop Julian White, on for the injured Phil Vickery, going close after another impressive passage of handling but despite further pressure they were unable to unlock the Scots again before the break and had to made do with a simple penalty from Flood.
England extended their lead straight from the re-start after England's Delon Armitage was taken out in the air - offering Flood the chance a shot at the posts that he duly kicked. But the metronomic Paterson reduced the arrears to a dozen points just a couple of minutes later with his second penalty. And fly-half Phil Godman landed a long-range effort soon after to close the gap yet further.
The action began to take on a distinct end of season flavour with plenty of broken yet exciting play. England were guilty of not taking their chances while unforced errors blighted the Scots' efforts.
A high tackle on England hooker Lee Mears offered Flood an easy shot at the posts on the hour mark but his effort was wayward while Godman narrowly failed with another long-range effort.
But England handed a lifeline to their visitors as they once again hit double-figures in the penalty count. Paterson stepped up to slot the easy three after England were guilty of holding on in the tackle under their own posts.
England responded by kicking to the corner instead of opting for a shot at the posts when the Scots' indiscipline let them down but they were unable to find an opening. England soon muscled their way back into the danger zone and with the penalty coming Care slotted an excellent drop goal.
With the game reduced to uncontested scrums, England conjured on more try with some quick handling and a simple overlap putting replacement Matthew Tait in at the corner. Andy Goode, on for Flood, pulled the conversion attempt wide.
Another seemingly serious injury, this time to Scotland's Hugo Southwell led to another delay before Scotland attempted one final fling that ended disappointingly as so many had before it.
England: Armitage; Cueto, Tindall, Flutey, Monye; Flood, Ellis; Sheridan, Mears, Vickery, Borthwick, Shaw, Croft, Worsley, Easter.
Replacements: Tait for Monye (48), Goode for Flood (73), Care for Ellis (16), Hartley for Mears (73), White for Vickery (14), Kennedy for Shaw (57), Haskell for Croft (73).
Scotland: Paterson; Danielli, M Evans, Morrison, T Evans; Godman, Blair; Dickinson, Ford, Murray, White, Hamilton, Strokosch, Gray, Taylor, Taylor.
Replacements: Low for Danielli (75), De Luca for T Evans (44), Cusiter for Blair (68), Southwell for Dickinson (75), Hall for Ford (67), Hines for White (57), Brown for Taylor (41), Brown for Taylor (41).
Man of the Match: Riki Flutey (England)
Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Touch judges: Christophe Berdos (France), Simon McDowell
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