England beats Scotland 25-13, moves top in Six Nations
LONDON (AP) — England scored 15 unanswered points in the second half to beat Scotland 25-13 in the Six Nations at Twickenham, setting up a three-team fight for the title on the final weekend.
England, Wales and Ireland are all on six points and play different teams in Round 5. England is top with a points differential of plus 37, with Ireland plus 33 and Wales plus 12.
The Scots have lost all four of their games this tournament — and remain winless at Twickenham since 1983 — although they threatened an upset when taking a 13-10 lead at halftime after England botched a slew of chances.
George Ford and Jack Nowell scored second-half tries for England, with Ford kicking 10 points in a mature display from flyhalf.
Yet England will rue the opportunities they wasted to put clear daylight between itself and Ireland in terms of points difference. The Scottish defense was breached with regularity in the first 20 minutes, but Jonathan Joseph was the only player to cross the line when he took a great line off Ford’s pass in the 4th.
“Frustrating,” England coach Stuart Lancaster said. “We probably left three or four tries out there.”
England plays France at Twickenham in the final match of a Saturday triple-header, so will know the margin of victory needed for a first title since 2011. Ireland, the titleholder, visits Scotland in the second game and Wales opens proceedings against Italy in Rome.
“We are last game up, so it sets up a big weekend,” Lancaster said. “We’ll need to be more clinical next week if we are to get the job done.”
Relieved to be only 7-0 down after a first quarter that England dominated, Scotland crossed the try line with its first meaningful attack when Mike Blair fed center Mark Bennett to barge over in the right corner.
Ford and Greig Laidlaw exchanged penalties before another three-pointer from Laidlaw in the 39th gave the Scots the lead.
Ford sliced through a gap in midfield to go between the posts in the 44th minute to put England ahead again. He converted the try and then kicked a 55th-minute penalty for 20-13.
Mike Brown had a try disallowed for the home side because of a forward pass from James Haskell but Nowell ensured there would be no late comeback from the Scots when he cut inside the covering defense to cross in the left corner in the 76th.
“Happy with the result,” England scrumhalf Ben Youngs said, “but in terms of performance there’s a lot more to come.”