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RugbyU: England too strong for Scots in Six Nations opener

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

England started their Six Nations campaign with a 38-18 Calcutta Cup win on Saturday as Scotland's 30-year wait for a Twickenham triumph was extended yet again.

Scotland's first match under Australian interim coach Scott Johnson, assisted by ex-England forward Dean Ryan, saw them score the first try of the 131st meeting between rugby's oldest international rivals as New Zealand-born wing Sean Maitland crossed on his Test debut.

But England, fresh from their record-breaking 38-21 win over world champions New Zealand last time out, hit back through Chris Ashton's 17th try in 30 Tests.

And with fly-half Owen Farrell landing five out of five goalkicks in the opening period, England led 19-11 at half-time.

That became 24-11 when centre Billy Twelvetress marked his Test debut with a try shortly after the break and lock Geoff Parling increased England's lead with his first international try.

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg, in a move started in front of his own line, scored a fine try 10 minutes from time but England replacement scrum-half Danny Care rounded off the try-count on the stroke of full-time.

England started brightly, with Twelvetrees, in for the injured Manu Tuilagi, involved in several promising moves after Farrell's second minute penalty.

But it was Scotland, searching for only their fifth Twickenham victory in 46 matches, who scored the first try, in the 10th minute.

Hogg burst through a gap in England's defence between wing Mike Brown and prop Dan Cole before brushing aside a weak tackle from full-back Alex Goode.

The ball went inside to scrum-half Greig Laidlaw and after prop Ryan Grant had been held up, Laidlaw passed to Maitland and he went in at the right corner.

Laidlaw missed the conversion and Scotland's lead was short-lived, with Farrell landing another penalty to make it 6-5 to England.

Farrell and Laidlaw then exchanged penalties, with Scotland, showing six changes from the side beaten 21-15 by Tonga last time out -- a defeat that led to Andy Robinson's resignation as coach -- eager to run the ball.

However, England eventually managed to retain possession long enough to score their first try 10 minutes before half-time.

Scotland outside-half Ruaridh Jackson's kick was charged down and Parling surged forward.

Twelvetrees advanced into the 22 and, after Joe Launchbury had gone close, it was wing Ashton who grounded the ball.

Farrell added the conversion and England were 16-8 in front.

That became 19-8 when, after a high tackle by Scotland No 8 Johnnie Beattie, Farrell landed a penalty from just short of the half-way line.

But Laidlaw's penalty on the stroke of half-time reduced England's interval lead to eight points.

However, that became a 15-point advantage in the 42nd minute when scrum-half Ben Youngs fed Twelvetrees and the Gloucester midfielder, taking the crash ball at pace, went over for a try that Farrell duly converted.

It looked as if England had put the match beyond Scotland's reach when Launchbury crossed only for his 'try' to be disallowed by Irish referee Alain Rolland for a high tackle by hooker Tom Youngs earlier in the move.

But barely a minute later after Ben Youngs's sniping break, Farrell's long cut-out pass found Parling, who went over in the corner.

Farrell missed his first goal-kick in seven attempts but England were now 20 points in front at 31-11.

Scotland refused to fold, though, and were rewarded with a converted try in the 70th minute.

England replacement back Toby Flood was well-tackled by Richie Gray and David Denton forced a turnover.

Maitland kicked on and found Hogg, who then won the race to his own fly-hack before Care had the last word.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130202/rugbyu-england-too-strong-scots-six-nations-opener