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Dublin: 9°C Monday 10 May 2021


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FULL TIME: Scotland 12 England 16

Are we all present? Then let’s begin.

Scotland and England have just kicked off in New Zealand in what looks like a wonderful atmosphere. Both teams can progress, we’ll get you the permutations and line-ups presently.

As I write a teary Ruairidh Jackson has left the pitch for Dan Parks  with what looks like a hamstring injury.

So here, ladies and gentlemen, are your line-ups,  not withstanding that really early Jackson withdrawal:

England: B Foden; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, M Tindall, D Armitage; J Wilkinson, B Youngs; M Stevens, S Thompson, D Cole, L Deacon, C Lawes, T Croft, L Moody (capt), J Haskell.

Scotland: C Paterson; M Evans, J Ansbro, S Lamont, S Danielli; R Jackson, M Blair; A Jacobsen, R Ford, E Murray, R Gray, A Kellock (capt), A Strokosch , J Barclay, R Vernon.

PENALTY Chris Paterson arrows over his first kick after England concede a penalty for a collapsing scrum.

It’s been a really bright start from Andy Robinson’s side. But what will be enough to see them through?

Well… as the BBC writes:

A win by more than seven points = qualification as group winners and likely quarter-final against France if Argentina fail to win against Georgia. Qualifications as runners-up if Argentina beat Georgia with four of more tries.
A win by seven or less points = Elimination if Argentina beat Georgia with four tries. If both Scotland and Argentina score less than four tries in a wins then Scotland’s win needs to be 15 points better than Argentina’s
Draw = progress as runners-up if Argentina lose
Defeat by less than seven = progress as runners-up if Argentina lose by eight or more to Georgia.
Defeat by more than seven = elimination.

Is that clear?

PENALTY TMO Ooof! I’ve never seen that before. Dan Parks seems to just land a long-range penalty but we ‘go upstairs’ as is the rugby vernacular to confirm that it did indeed sneak over the bar.

He nailed it and Scotland are six points up. As they say in another game: Game on, Ger.

Wilkinson misses his first kick of the evening. It was a tricky one and he wasn’t afforded the courtesy of the crowd’s silence.

Phil Vickery in the gantry says the English are like ‘rabbits in headlights’ and they’re certainly struggling to get a foothold in this game.

Can Scotland dare to dream, computerland?

And the England out half fails to nail another, admittedly more difficult kick. Doing his best Al Pacino impression, an increasingly excited Gavin Hastings offers his version of the ‘game of inches’ speech.

Small margins, the former Scotland skipper chants. Small margins.

Deary me. He’s only gone and missed another one, reader!

It’s a difficult night in Auckland with a swirling wind we’re told. But after 25 minutes, Wilkinson has missed three on the bounce.

In the meantime, the commentator has offered us a Phil Spector and Bay City Rollers mash up. Scotland are, he says: a tartan wall of sound. Nice.

Meanwhile in Dunedin…

The Ireland team train at the Otago Stadium. Pic: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

PENALTY Wilkinson has been handed his fourth chance to nail a kick. Scotland cam in form the side at the ruck before Evans and Ashton got involved in what’s technically called: handbags.

And practice makes perfect. Jonny drags it over which is the cue for Blur’s Song 2 around the ground.

Will there ever be a boy who can swim as fast as a shark, as Gareth Keenan once wondered aloud. Also… will Scotland ever score a try again?

It looked like they might just now after Jonny’s first penalty conversion. They set themselves up in the England 22 and get it out right to Ansbro on the wing, but the Scot is dumped out by Armitage.

Janey. On the stroke of half-time Dan Parks exorcises the demons of the Argentina game with a sweetly-struck drop goal.

The ref blows the half-time whistle on cue and Scotland trot in to the locker-room six points up. Big kick.

We’re up and running. This should be vewy, vewy interesting.

Armitage reminds the Scots what’s what. The England man gets on his bike down the tramline but his pass inside is intercepted and the ball goes dead.

You feel Martin Johnson may have spoken in the dressing-room at half-time. I wouldn’t want to sit next to to the England manager for 36hours on the flight back to Heathrow on Monday morning, personally.

I’d love to sit behind this two at a game for which I travelled thousands of miles to attend…

England turned the ball over and looked like they were on for a try. Eventually the ball popped out to Wilkinson in the pocket and he attempted a relatively straightforward drop goal from in front of the posts.

He misses.

That was Scotland’s chance at a try. Danielli chips and chases down the left but Ben Foden did really well to get a hand on the ball. Luca is following on right behind however and all he has to do is pick and go for the line, but he mishandles.

PENALTY! Scotland need to win by eight to progress – and Dan Parks has just hit a kick to put them nine up. It’s all set up for a glorious Scottish defeat, you feel, with over 20 minutes to run down yet.

DROP GOAL! “That’s the mark of the man” insists the ITV commentator as his bestie Jonny lofts over a lovely effort. He’s had a tough day at the office but that beings England inside the magic eight-point margin again.

There’s six in it again.

PENALTY! Jonny’s getting hot baby.

Scotland almost manufacture a crucial try. Parks kicks a delicious effort into the corner but Croft gets there first.

Tody Flood is ready to come on – we don’t yet know if it’s for Wilkinson. It the meantime, the England No 10 has missed another penalty.

Scotland were penalised for not releasing the ball but Jonny’s epic effort falls just short, though it’s well struck. We have 70 minutes now on the clock and there’s three points in it.

HarpinOnRugby gives us pause for thought:

“Reminder folks, if this score stays the same even on today’s performances one from France or England will reach the final four.”

England won a penalty there but kicked it away. They’re happy with the narrow defeat now. I’m not sure how the English press will react to that.

Wilkinson is still in place at 10 with Flood in the centres in place of Tindall.

TRY! Ashton gets over for England.

So the dream is over for Scotland and as any member of the Tartan Army will tell you: it’s the hope that kills.

Chris Ashton was the one that punctured those hopes, getting over for the first try of the game, after taking an big overhead pass from the sub Flood. He then kicked the conversion.

“That is so England” the commentator roared. He seemed embarrassed afterwards.

FULL TIME England 16 Scotland 12

So England meet France next weekend. Scotland go home on Monday morning.

Thanks for your company throughout the morning. Keep the comments and emails coming – out minute-by-minute coverage will be back tomorrow for the big one of course.

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