Ellis Genge’s late try helped England return to winning Six Nations ways as they regained the Calcutta Cup with a hard-fought 13-6 win over Scotland at a rainswept Murrayfield on Saturday.
With 10 minutes to go, the match was all square at 3-3 thanks to a penalty apiece before England replacement prop Ellis Genge was driven over for a try converted by Owen Farrell.
England captain Farrell added a penalty before Scotland fly-half Adam Hastings kept the hosts in the hunt with his second of the match.
But England closed the game out to secure victory after their defeat by South Africa in the World Cup final was followed by a 24-17 loss away to France in their Six Nations opener last weekend.
“To come up here with the conditions and the atmosphere, we knew it would be tough,” Farrell told the BBC. “We stuck at it and our attitude was good throughout.
“The wind was unpredictable and it made the ball go out on the full a few times but the most pleasing thing was our attitude.
“We grew as the game went on,” added Farrell.
England’s next match is against a Grand Slam-chasing Ireland coached by Farrell’s father Andy at Twickenham on February 23.
Scotland have now lost both of their first two matches of the championship with this loss following a 19-12 defeat by Ireland in Dublin.
“We worked incredibly hard but came up short,” said Scotland captain Stuart Hogg. “Credit to England who squeezed us in our own half. We didn’t make the most of our opportunities.”
Scotland were again without fly-half Finn Russell. The gifted playmaker, a key figure in Scotland’s 25-13 win over England in 2018 and the inspiration behind their comeback in a remarkable 38-38 draw with England last year, was once more left out by coach Gregor Townsend following a late-night drinking session that saw the stand-off miss training prior to the Ireland match.
Australia-born centre Sam Johnson hit England wing Jonny May with a strong, legal tackle from the opening kick-off, but otherwise there was little for the home crowd to cheer in a first half where Farrell’s 11th-minute penalty was the lone score.
With Storm Ciara lashing Britain, the conditions made running rugby all but impossible while Farrell missed two penalty chances either side of punishing Scotland lock Scott Cummings for not rolling away at the breakdown.
Scotland, by contrast, declined three kickable penalties, with Hogg also failing to find touch with one of them.
George Ford nearly doubled England’s lead shortly before half-time but the fly-half’s drop-goal went just past the left post.
Scotland centre Huw Jones, a try-scorer in the 2018 Calcutta Cup, threatened England’s line early in the second half before persistent pressure from the Scots forwards saw England concede a penalty near their own half which Hastings, Russell’s replacement at fly-half, kicked to level the scores.
A rejuvenated Scotland, with the wind changing in their favour, then enjoyed sustained possession only to turn the ball over.
Heading into the final quarter the game was still deadlocked, with Farrell missing another penalty as Genge held the ball.
But Farrell’s kick through almost led to Hogg gifting England a try when he fumbled the ball over his line under pressure from Jonathan Joseph.
It was not as directly costly a mistake as when the fullback squandered a try by dropped the ball over the goal-line against Ireland but Hogg’s latest high-profile error led to a five-metre scrum for England from which Genge was driven over for the decisive score.