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England edge into Quarters after Scotland win

01 October 2011

  • England through to World Cup quarter finals
  • Late Ashton try sets up 16-12 win against Scots

England 16 Scotland 12

England wing Chris Ashton in action against Scotland

Photo: Getty Images

A late try from Chris Ashton saw England book their place in the last eight of the World Cup at the expense of a gallant Scotland. Martin Johnson’s men will now play northern hemisphere rivals France in Auckland next Saturday with a semi-final spot up for grabs.

England appeared to be on course for defeat until they struck in the dying minutes to seal a 16-12 win. Wilkinson landed two penalties and a drop-goal but was off-target with his first three efforts – although ultimately it didn't matter.

For Scotland, Chris Paterson and replacement fly-half Dan Parks landed six points apiece but it wasn't enough. Scotland were forced into an early change of tactic when Ruaridh Jackson, charged with playing a running game, limped from the field to be replaced by Parks after less than five minutes.

And given the horrendous conditions in Auckland, the change benefited the Scots, who switched to a kicking game.

Parks almost made an immediate impact with his cross-field kick knocked on by Sean Lamont. However, it was Paterson who got the first points on the board, with the full-back making no mistake with his penalty attempt.

Dan Parks slots over a drop goal to give Scotland a 9-3 lead

Photo: Getty Images

A long-range penalty from Parks extended the lead - and while Scotland were taking their chances England were guilty of wasting theirs.

Wilkinson saw three penalties fail to find their target to increase to the frustration running through the England team.

Parks almost made them pay with a drop-goal effort that fell short but Wilkinson finally found his range on 33 minutes to give England some relief.

Having lacked urgency in the first half, England came out firing for the second half – with a big hit from Manu Tuilagi creating an opportunity for Armitage, who raced down the wing but was tackled in to touch five metres short.

England's scrum was suddenly beginning to function as Scotland were put under pressure in their own 22 but Wilkinson failed to take advantage as he saw a poor drop-goal effort go wide.

England celebrate Chris Ashton's try

Photo: Getty Images

However, Scotland really should have scored a try on 52 minutes. Simon Danielli chipped over and, although Ben Foden managed to get his hand to the ball it spilt loose, Nick de Luca could only knock on with the try-line at his mercy.

Scotland made the most of their visit into the England 22, though, with Paterson slotting over a penalty. Unperturbed Wilkinson cancelled out the penalty with a well-struck drop-goal with his right foot - and the deficit was down to three points with a kick from out wide.

An all-action finale to the match saw Tom Croft prevent Richie Gray winning the race to Parks' cross-field kick while Wilkinson saw another long-range penalty drop agonisingly short.

England snatched victory at the end as a superb catch and drive took them towards the line before Toby Flood's floated pass out wide found Ashton to apply the finish. Flood converted to leave Scotland dejected.