England and Scotland draw at Murrayfield

Mar 13 • International, Six Nations, Six Nations News • 1596 Views • Comments Off on England and Scotland draw at Murrayfield

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England retained the Calcutta Cup after a 15-15 draw with Scotland but their hopes of winning the Six Nations appear to be over after this kicking-dominated scrap at Murrayfield.

Toby Flood fell just short with a late, 49m penalty attempt that would have won the match for England and ensured they could travel to Paris next weekend with their hopes of a championship triumph still intact.

Instead, the title will be beyond reach of Martin Johnson’s squad if France beat Italy on Sunday.

The Scots could also count themselves unlucky that Dan Parks, who provided all of Scotland’s points, hit the post with two of his six penalty attempts.

And, despite claiming their first point in this year’s tournament, they will rue their failure to turn long phases of pressure into at least one try.

It was the 18th time in 127 meetings that the oldest international fixture in rugby had ended in a draw, underlining the ferocious competitive edge that always surrounds these meetings.

Parks, the Scotland fly-half, put the first points on the board with a 40-metre penalty in the eighth minute after England had infringed at the breakdown.

England hit back with a period of sustained pressure which culminated in Jim Hamilton carelessly conceding a penalty under the posts.

Jonny Wilkinson knocked that one over but it was to be Scotland who dominated the opening period from then on.

Parks added another penalty on 19 minutes and England’s frustration was reflected in hooker Dylan Hartley lashing out at opposite number Ross Ford.

Hartley was fortunate to avoid a spell in the sin bin after clearly throwing a punch and referee Marius Jonker looked to have reversed an England penalty as a result, only to change his mind after consulting his touch judge.

Wilkinson levelled from 40 metres against a background of jeers from the home crowd.

The Scots continue to dominate without ever threatening the try line and only a mishit drop goal from Parks on the stroke of half-time allowed them to go in at the interval with a 9-6 lead.

That advantage disappeared soon after the restart thanks to further indiscipline from Scotland lock Hamilton, who was penalised for recklessly kicking the ball out of the hands of England scrum Danny Care.

Wilkinson slotted the penalty over but that was his last significant contribution with a head knock forcing him to make way for Toby Flood minutes later.

Flood was soon putting England into the lead for the first time but Parks levelled with his third penalty, from close to the touchline, only to strike the post from a more straightforward chance minutes later.

Flood missed a chance to put England in front again when he pushed a 47-metre penalty wide of the posts but the momentum was now with the visitors and the phase that followed yielded a much simpler penalty opportunity.

Parks struck the post for the second time in the match with a 49-metre penalty attempt, but this time the Scots were following up and, despite being denied a try, forced England to concede a penalty that enabled Parks to level the scores before making way for Phil Godman.

Flood’s attempt to win the match for England fell just short and, in the end, another draw in a match that has produced more of them than any other international fixture, was probably about right.

The match was held up in the second half when Kelly Brown and Ugo Monye both suffered head injuries in an ugly collision.

Monye needed to be stretchered off with his head in a brace.

[AFP]

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