ENG­LAND RE­GAIN CAL­CUTTA CUP

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Ed­in­burgh, UK - Ellis Genge's late try helped Eng­land re­turn to win­ning Six Na­tions ways as they re­gained the Cal­cutta Cup with a hard-fought 13-6 win over Scot­land at a rain­swept Mur­ray­field on Satur­day.

With ten min­utes to go, the match was all square at 3-3 thanks to a penalty apiece be­fore Eng­land re­place­ment prop Ellis Genge was driven over for a try con­verted by Owen Far­rell.

Eng­land cap­tain Far­rell added a penalty be­fore Scot­land fly-half Adam Hast­ings kept the hosts in the hunt with his sec­ond of the match. But Eng­land closed the game out to se­cure vic­tory af­ter their de­feat by South Africa in the World Cup fi­nal was fol­lowed by a 24-17 loss away to France in their Six Na­tions opener last week­end.

‘Good at­ti­tude’

"To come up here with the con­di­tions and the at­mo­sphere, we knew it would be tough," Far­rell told the BBC. "We stuck at it and our at­ti­tude was good through­out.

"The wind was un­pre­dictable and it made the ball go out on the full a few times but the most pleas­ing thing was our at­ti­tude.

"We grew as the game went on," added Far­rell.

Eng­land's next match is against a Grand Slam-chas­ing Ire­land coached by Far­rell's fa­ther Andy at Twick­en­ham on

Fe­bru­ary 23. Scot­land have now lost both of their first two matches of the cham­pi­onship with this loss fol­low­ing a 19-12 de­feat by Ire­land in Dublin.

"We worked in­cred­i­bly hard but came up short," said Scot­land cap­tain Stu­art Hogg. "Credit to Eng­land who squeezed us in our own half. We didn't make the most of our op­por­tu­ni­ties."

Scot­land were again with­out fly-half Finn Rus­sell. The gifted play­maker, a key fig­ure in Scot­land's 25-13 win over Eng­land in 2018 and the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind their come­back in a re­mark­able 38-38 draw with Eng­land last year, was once more left out by coach Gre­gor Townsend fol­low­ing a late-night drink­ing ses­sion that saw the stand-off miss train­ing prior to the Ire­land match.

Aus­tralia-born cen­tre Sam John­son hit Eng­land wing Jonny May with a strong, le­gal tackle from the open­ing kick-off, but oth­er­wise there was lit­tle for the home crowd to cheer in a first half where Far­rell's 11th-minute penalty was the lone score.

With Storm Ciara lash­ing Bri­tain, the con­di­tions made run­ning rugby all but im­pos­si­ble while Far­rell missed two penalty chances ei­ther side of pun­ish­ing Scot­land lock Scott Cum­mings for not rolling away at the break­down. Scot­land, by con­trast, de­clined three kick­able penal­ties, with Hogg also fail­ing to find touch with one of them.

Ge­orge Ford nearly dou­bled

Eng­land's lead shortly be­fore half-time but the fly-half's drop­goal went just past the left post.

Scot­land cen­tre Huw Jones, a try-scorer in the 2018 Cal­cutta Cup, threat­ened Eng­land's line early in the sec­ond half be­fore per­sis­tent pres­sure from the Scots for­wards saw Eng­land con­cede a penalty near their own half which Hast­ings, Rus­sell's re­place­ment at fly-half, kicked to level the scores.

A re­ju­ve­nated Scot­land, with the wind chang­ing in their favour, then en­joyed sus­tained pos­ses­sion only to turn the ball over.

Head­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter the game was still dead­locked, with Far­rell miss­ing an­other penalty as Genge held the ball.

But Far­rell's kick through al­most led to Hogg gift­ing Eng­land a try when he fum­bled the ball over his line un­der pres­sure from Jonathan Joseph. It was not as di­rectly costly a mis­take as when the full­back squan­dered a try by dropped the ball over the goalline against Ire­land but Hogg's lat­est high-pro­file er­ror led to a five-me­tre scrum for Eng­land from which Genge was driven over for the de­ci­sive score.

(AFP)

Eng­land's Ellis Genge (cen­tre) dives over the line to score their first try dur­ing the Six Na­tions rugby union match against Scot­land on Satur­day

Ar­mand Du­plan­tis

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