England overcome early scare against Scotland

By Christopher Devine 5 November 2016 40
England overcome early scare against Scotland

England overcame a dreadful start against Scotland at the Ricoh Arena to triumph 38-12 and record their first win in this year's Four Nations.

An agonising 17-16 defeat to New Zealand last Saturday left the tournament hosts facing an uphill battle to end the southern hemisphere dominance of this event.

England must beat world champions Australia in London next Sunday to have any chance of making the final at Anfield - and will need to improve significantly on their first-half performance in Coventry to challenge the Kangaroos.

It took Wayne Bennett's side 34 minutes to hit the front against Scotland, who threatened to pull off a major shock by claiming the game's first two tries.

The eventual margin of victory was comfortable as Elliott Whitehead's first-half brace was followed up by five further England scores. Yet the victors are sure to feel they have much to work on.

Scotland's opening match against Australia - which the Kangaroos won 54-12 - was over as a contest before half-time, but the underdogs enjoyed a much more profitable start this time around.

Kane Linnett crashed over early on following some slick handling and England were unable to muster a convincing response, their attack lacking spark.

Things got even worse for England as Warrington Wolves wing Matty Russell produced a sensational finish in the left corner, somehow grounding the ball with his body in the air just before he was bundled into touch by two defenders.

However, Whitehead soon breezed through a gap to get his team on the board, Luke Gale succeeding where Danny Brough had twice failed by adding the extras.

Scotland then fell behind for the first time six minutes before the interval, amid a rising penalty count, when Whitehead collected a Gale grubber kick to dot down under the posts - the latter again converting.

The second half proved one-sided as England finally gained the control they had been anticipated to enjoy from the outset.

Man of the match George Williams laid on tries for Mark Percival and Ryan Hall, before Jermaine McGillvary and Gale also crossed with Scotland down to 12 following a yellow card for Brough.

Dale Ferguson replied for Scotland, but England had the final word through Liam Farrell's converted score after the hooter.

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Christopher Devine