England set up a three way race for the Six Nations crown with Ireland and Wales, as they overcame a stubborn Scotland.  They sit on top of the Six Nations table, with a four –point advantage over nearest title challengers Ireland, and are in the hunt for their first title since 2011.

With the win the Red Rose retained the Calcutta Cup, which is competed for annually, only by England and Scotland; the first Calcutta Cup match was played in 1879 and, since then, over 100 matched have taken place.

England were fast out of the blocks at the start of the first-half, and it was the Bath duo of George Ford and Jonathan Joseph, who stampeded through the Thistle defence; Joseph scored a try in the seventh minute, which was converted by Ford.

Bennett stepping inside in the 21st minute and levelled the scores at 7-7, after the conversion from Greig Laidlaw. Ford and Laidlaw then exchanged penalties to level at 10-10 once more, before the latter then had another penalty to edge ahead 10-13 for Scotland, just before the half-time whistle, the first time the Scots had led England at half-time at Twickenham in 25 years.

The Thistle’s lead only lasted for three minutes after the interval, as Jack Nowell made rapid progress down the left-flank, Ford got the ball and accelerated under the posts. His added conversion made it 17-13, and a few minutes later he extended the advantage to seven points.

Scotland remained only a converted try deficit going into the last 15 minutes, as thunders of home support echoed,when Nowell got his late try in the left-hand corner, to seal the win. Scottish 32-year wait for a victory at Twickenham still goes on.

Although George Ford’s performance was exceptional, as he demonstrated his best game yet at international level, the Red Rose were inconsistent and spectacularly wasted six clear try-scoring opportunities. They might yet rue for not scoring more points against the Scottish, in a week’s time, when they face France in the crucial encounter that will determine whether they win the first silverware of Stuart Lancaster’s reign. 

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