England stand off Jonny Wilkinson made his international comeback at Twickenham and proved to be a thorn in Scotland's side in this, their 2007 tournament opener. Scotland's defence was worked exceptionally hard by the English who had the majority of the possession and territory, leaving the Scots mostly on the back foot throughout the game.
England 42 - 20 Scotland
England stand off Jonny Wilkinson made his international comeback at Twickenham and proved to be a thorn in Scotland’s side in this, their 2007 tournament opener.
Scotland’s defence was worked exceptionally hard by the English who had the majority of the possession and territory, leaving the Scots mostly on the back foot throughout the game.
England’s ‘boy wonder’ Wilkinson kicked a total of 22 points and that added to tries from Robinson (2), Magnus Lund and a questionable Television Match Official decision giving Wilkinson his own try when his foot seemed to be on the ground in touch, led to a much larger final score difference than the majority of the action on the pitch may have indicated
That point was echoed by the respective captains, Chris Paterson and Phil Vickery. Paterson, who kicked two penalties and two conversions to raise his points total for Scotland to 506, noted: "That was my fourth game at Twickenham for Scotland and the scores have ended up pretty much identical. But within the game I felt that was the closest we've been to achieving a result down here."
England started the game the stronger of the two and within the first ten minutes, scrum half Harry Ellis hinted at the trouble he’d cause the Scots all afternoon when he crossed the Scotland try line but Paterson did sterling work to get himself between Ellis and the ball to prevent the touchdown.
Wilkinson claimed the first points of the game with a penalty after the Scots’ binding in the scrum was called into question by the referee but no sooner had Paterson responded with a penalty of his own for Scotland, than Wilkinson was again on the scoreboard with a drop goal after Dan Parks had been turned over from the restart taking the home side’s lead to 6-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Parks responded magnificently by punting astutely over Jason Robinson's head to keep the Scots in the right area of the field.
When Scotland picked up the pace and chose to keep the ball in hand, they looked to threaten the English defence and gain much needed territory, working their way up the park.
The visitors made it up to almost the England try line when the home side had a lineout. However, English mistakes let the ball go loose and Scotland flanker Simon Taylor was quick to pounce on it and gallop through the gap to dive over for a try - his second in consecutive visits to Twickenham - to take Scotland 10-6 into the lead with Paterson’s conversion.
Scotland’s scramble defence was put to the test by scrum half Ellis again as England seemed to step up a gear in the second quarter. Wilkinson kept the scoreboard ticking over with a further two penalties before England, with a switch of play from one wing to another, took advantage of the overlap and Jason Robinson crossed the try line beating Dougie Hall's tackle out wide. The conversion was missed and the sides went in 17-10 at half time.
Scotland gained the first points of the second half with another Paterson penalty but from then on England dominated.
Robinson claimed another try as Sean Lamont saw a kick ahead bounce agonisingly out of his reach in goal, before TMO Donal Courtney enter proceedings to award a try to Jonny Wilkinson when the TV replays showed that his right foot had touched the ground before he had grounded the ball.
Scotland coach Frank Hadden could hardly contain his frustration at that episode and even TV pundits described the decision as a travesty. Courtney is scheduled to referee Scotland's match against Italy in three weeks.
However, at that point, England were already 17 points ahead of the Scots and that decision only served to dampen spirits further.
With the conversion added, Scotland’s flurry of subs certainly had their work cut out for them with only 20 minutes left to play and when England snaffled another soft try through Magnus Lund, the gap was just to large to claw back.
A consolation try from substitute centre Rob Dewey made the final deficit slightly more presentable but with the tingling air of possibility before the game, the Scots will be disappointed with the final result.
However it’s the final score that matters and Scotland will want to quickly put this game behind them and move on to face Wales next weekend.
3-0: Wilkinson penalty (11mins)
3-3: Paterson penalty (17mins)
6-3: Wilkinson drop goal (18 mins)
6-8: Simon Taylor try (23 mins)
6-10: Chris Paterson conversion
9-10: Jonny Wilkinson penalty (28 mins)
12-10: Jonny Wilkinson penalty (30 mins)
17-10: Jason Robinson try (37 mins)
17-13: Chris Paterson penalty (42 mins)
20-13: Jonny Wilkinson penalty (47 mins)
23-13: Jonny Wilkinson penalty (52 mins)
28-13: Jason Robinson try (54 mins)
30-13: Jonny Wilkinson conversion
35-13: Jonny Wilkinson try (59 mins)
37-13: Jonny Wilkinson conversion
42-13: Magnus Lund try (72 mins)
42-18: Rob Dewey try (75 mins)
42-20: Chris Paterson conversion
Morgan; Lewsey, Tindall, Farrell, Robinson; Wilkinson, Ellis; Freshwater, Chuter, Vickery (capt), Deacon, Grewcock, Worsley, Lund, Corry.
Mears (for Chuter 73 mins), White (for Vikery 73 mins), Palmer, Rees (for Worsley 61 mins), Richards (for Wilkinson 73 mins), Flood, Tait.
Southwell; S Lamont, Di Rollo, Henderson, Paterson (capt), Parks, Cusiter; Kerr (for E Murray 73 mins), Hall, Murray, Kellock (for Hamilton 61 mins), Hamilton, Taylor, Callam, Brown.
Ford (for Hall 63mins), Jacobsen (for Kerr 54 mins), Murray (for Kellock 51mins BLOOD), Hogg (for Brown 61 mins), Lawson (for Cusiter 66 mins), Dewey (for Henderson 61 mins), R Lamont (for Parks 68mins).
RBS Man of the Match: Jonny Wilkinson (England)
Ref: Marius Jonker (SARFU).
Television Match Official: Donal Courtney (Ireland)