‘Simplistic genius’ - How England routed Scotland to retain Six Nations crown

England's Danny Care scores his side's seventh try. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA
England's Danny Care scores his side's seventh try. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA
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Sitting on the bench, scrum-half Danny Care was entranced and felt like a fan lapping up England’s “unbelievable” tries.

Fly-half George Ford labelled it “brilliant” while Jonathan Joseph, the chief benefactor with his second international hat-trick, described the circumstances occurring at Twickenham as “like a dream.”

Indeed, it was hard to find any fault with the irresistible first-half play of the Six Nations champions who, having surged into a 30-7 interval lead against bemused Scotland on Saturday, quickly confirmed the win that saw them retain the title.

In contrast to the disjointed, chaotic mess against Italy, this was as crystal clear as even Eddie Jones could have wished for.

Repeat this calibre of display in Dublin next Saturday and they will become the first side in Six Nations history to achieve back-to-back grand slams, too.

Rarely will you see a side score three successive tries from first-phase play as England did in that glorious opening period.

Each time rapid line-out ball saw either Ford or No 12 Owen Farrell unleash Joseph in midfield, the Bath outside centre twice cruising through for tries and also setting one up for Anthony Watson before completing his hat-trick in the second period.

The precision and timing of it all was perfect, almost like an unopposed training ground practice as Scotland were carved open time and again; simplistic genius.

Farrell, of course, did not train on the eve of the game due to a dead leg but you would never have guessed while Joseph – dropped against Italy and a faded force over the last 12 months – returned to his dazzling best.

Asked about the value of having Farrell alongside him, Ford admitted; “For me, it’s another set of eyes and he’s a brilliant communicator. He understands the game and I think we can get the ball to the space pretty well.

England's Danny Care (centre) celebrates after scoring his team's seventh try. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

England's Danny Care (centre) celebrates after scoring his team's seventh try. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

“To have the two distributors there, and having those two people who can see space means you can get the ball to hands of people like JJ (Joseph), Elliot (Daly) and Anthony Watson.

“It gives us the ability to run, kick or pass and be a threat to defences in more than one area.

“From a first-phase point of view it gives us the ability to try and break down teams there and have another set of hands; JJ ran some brilliant lines today.

“Not playing against Italy and coming back here, the two weeks for him were very good; you could see he was going to play well.

It’s pretty tough over there, as big a Test match as you’ll play in and the whole country will want them to spoil the party and stop us winning the slam

England scrum-half, Danny Care

“That’s probably one of his best games. I play with him every week at Bath and he comes out with top performances near that level but to do it at Test match is brilliant.

“He is a world class player and we have to put him in positions to score tries. You can see how well he moves.”

Having beaten Wales and Ireland, Scotland came with genuine hope of winning at Twickenham for the first time since 1983.

They needed everything to go right but from the moment hooker Fraser Brown was yellow carded for a senseless dangerous tackle on Daly in the second minute everything seemed to go wrong.

They were 10-0 down by the time he returned and, soon after, they lost gifted full-back Stuart Hogg to injury and then his replacement Mark Bennett, too, while a third stand-in Tommy Seymour was left sidelined in the second period as well.

Joseph was untouchable at times as England lifted the Calcutta Cup and equalled New Zealand’s world record 18 successive test wins but he heaped praise on those inside him.

England's Jonathan Joseph celebrates with the Calcutta Cup. Picture: David Davies/PA

England's Jonathan Joseph celebrates with the Calcutta Cup. Picture: David Davies/PA

“How it started with the set-piece, the tempo 9-10-12 created, it’s so hard to defend when you’re running holes like that,” he said. “It’s almost impossible if you get it right. On a day like today when the sun’s out, forwards are on the front foot, it’s a dream playing outside (Ford/Farrell). All we’ve to do is hold our feet, pick the right holes and the rest is done.”

With Billy Vunipola scoring on his return from injury and Yorkshireman Care adding a late double of his own allied to Farrell’s 26 points, it was all so comfortable, Scotland’s Huw Jones’s brace of second-half tries after Gordon Reid’s earlier effort proving futile.

So, on to Dublin. Care said: “It’s pretty tough over there, as big a Test match as you’ll play in and the whole country will want them to spoil the party and stop us winning the slam. But we want a full 80 minute performance.”

England: Brown; Nowell, Joseph (Te’o 58), Farrell, May (Watson 2-10 16); Ford, Youngs (Care 61); Marler (M Vunipola 58), Hartley (George 52 Hartley 62-70 BB), Cole (Sinckler 61), Launchbury, Lawes (Wood 67), Itoje, Haskell, Hughes (B Vunipola 52).

Scotland: Hogg (Bennett 18-Pyrgos 22); Seymour (Weir 44), Jones, Dunbar, Visser; Russell, Price; Reid (Dell 44), Brown (Ford 44), Fagerson (Berghan 62), R Gray, J Gray (Swinson 74), Barclay, Watson, Wilson (du Preez 62).

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FFR).

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