Debutant Owen Farrell kicks England to Calcutta Cup victory
Saracens star kicks eight points in 6 Nations victory
RBS 6 Nations
Scotland 6 England 13
OWEN Farrell made a winning start to life in international rugby kicking eight points as England defeated Scotland 13-6 in the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations.
The former St George’s School pupil played a key role in what was England’s first win at Murrayfield since 2004 and could have had more points to his name but two long range kicks narrowly missed the target.
It was a baptism of fire for England’s new look line-up but one they handled well as Scotland’s inability to score tries came back to haunt them once more. This was the fourth game in a row Andy Robinson’s side have failed to cross the whitewash and a half-chance for Greig Laidlaw aside, they never got close to doing so against England. It was a far cry from the “chaos” predicted by head coach Robinson in the pre-match build up.
When they did find themselves in good positions the Scots were guilty of making poor decisions and although England found try-scoring opportunities of their own at a premium they were in the right place at the right time to capitalise when it mattered.
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At 6-3 down at half-time - a Farrell penalty accounting for England’s three points - the visitors made a blistering start to the second half scoring a try after just 29 seconds when Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson charged down a kick by his opposite number Dan Parks and pounced on the loose ball to score.
England would have added to the score when another Saracen, David Strettle, collected Hodgson’s cross-field kick but the winger was nailed by a last ditch tackle from Scotland’s stand-out performer, No.8 David Denton.
The hosts had chances to hit back at England but Chris Ashton cleared well under pressure, Foden stopped Richie Gray in his tracks and Laidlaw was ruled not to have applied any downward pressure as he battled with Ben Youngs for a loose ball behind the England line.
Farrell had the opportunity to put the game to bed for England with a long range penalty that fell just in front of the posts but the 20-year-old made no mistake minutes later when replacement Matt Stevens’ excellent work at the breakdown was rewarded with a penalty by referee George Clancy.
It also meant a winning start for interim head coach Stuart Lancaster and his coaching team of Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell, something they’ll be looking to repeat when they head to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome next weekend to take on Italy.
England: Foden; Ashton, Barritt (Brown 72), Farrell, Strettle; Hodgson (Turner-Hall 63), Youngs (Dickson 63); Corbisiero (Stevens 63), Hartley, Cole, Botha, Palmer (Parling 59), Croft, Robshaw, Dowson (Morgan 68).
Replacements not used: Webber.
Ref: George Clancy (IRFU).