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Rugby | Six Nations

England too strong for Scots



England started their Six Nations campaign with a 38-18 Calcutta Cup win on Saturday as Scotland's 30-year wait for a Twickenham triumph was extended yet again.

Scotland's first match under Australian interim coach Scott Johnson 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 goalkicks in the opening period, England led 19-11 at halftime.

That became 24-11 when centre Billy Twelvetress 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 scored a try 10 minutes from time before England replacement scrumhalf Danny Care rounded off the try-count on the stroke of fulltime.

"It was nice to get on the scoreboard but it hasn't sunk in yet," said Twelvetrees.

"I just wanted to get out there and do what I do every weekend for Gloucester."

England coach Stuart Lancaster added: "I'm really pleased with the scoreline. We definitely would have taken that at the start of the day.

"That New Zealand game gave us a lot of confidence and what we'll do is continue to build on that. Fair play to Scotland, their defence was outstanding."

Johnson said Scotland had conceded too many "easy yards" after seeing his pack overwhelmed in the second half.

"We said before the match that if we got the contact area right we'd win the game. Yeah, they had the opportunities. We butchered a couple, too," he said..

"We gave them too many easy yards and we're really disappointed. We let ourselves down. We have to forget the tries."

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England started brightly 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, 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 halftime.

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 halftime 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.

Then, barely a minute after England lock Joe Launchbury had had a try disallowed, they crossed Scotland's line for a third time.

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.

Scotland refused to fold, though, and were rewarded with a converted try in the 70th minute, after Hogg, won the race to his own fly-hack before Care had the last word.

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