England keep Six Nations title hopes alive

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England secured a 25–13 victory over a spirited Scotland to keep their title hopes very much alive heading into next week’s final round of the Six Nations Championship.

Wales' win over Ireland earlier in the day effectively blew the title race wide open, providing a huge incentive for England, who duly responded by grinding out yet another Calcutta Cup triumph on home turf.

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Scotland had travelled south aiming to enhance their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon by securing a first victory at Twickenham since 1983, and despite going behind to an early try from Jonathan Joseph, they steadily grew into the game as the first half progressed.

A combination of wasteful finishing and dogged Scottish defending meant that the home side failed to add to Joseph’s converted score, and instead they found themselves trailing 13-10 at the break courtesy of a well-worked try from Mark Bennett and three successful kicks from Greig Laidlaw.

The tone for the second half, however, was set as early as the 43rd minute, when George Ford scampered through a gaping hole in the Scottish defence to score under the posts and the Bath fly-half then added a penalty to take his side out to a 20-13 lead.

As the game moved into its final quarter, the hosts continued to dominate in terms of both possession and territory, and yet they could not quite manage to shake off the tenacious Scots, whose defensive work around the fringes of the ruck was especially impressive.

With only seven points in it, the visitors remained very much in the contest, but as in all three of their previous Six Nations games this season, they ultimately came up just short.

England's sustained pressure finally told four minutes from time when Jack Nowell forced his way over in the corner to claim his second international try and secure the result that took his side to the top of the Six Nations table on points difference.

Stuart Lancaster's team now turn their attentions to a potential title-clincher against France at Twickenham, while Scotland will be out to avoid the wooden soon by upsetting Ireland's championships ambitions when the two sides meet at Murrayfield.