Poms draw short straw

England’s Six Nations’ title hopes were ended when they drew 15-15 with Scotland at Murrayfield.

The stalemate broke a run of five consecutive home victories in the Calcutta Cup, with England retaining the trophy thanks to last year’s win at Twickenham. That, though, will be scant consolation for Martin Johnson’s men, who will meet France next weekend with nothing to play for.

The first half was little more than an arm wrestle, and the scorers were troubled only by penalties as periods of territorial dominance from both sides went unrewarded.

Dan Parks opened the scoring in the seventh minute after English prop Dan Cole was penalised for lying on the wrong side, but Jonny Wilkinson’s reply followed soon after. The two flyhalves then exchanged penalties before Parks slotted a drop goal with seconds remaining in the half to give Scotland a 9-6 lead.

The second act saw England kick two penalties, from Wilkinson and Toby Flood, after they had spent 10 minutes in the Scottish half, before another breakdown infringement by the visitors allowed Parks to make it 12-12.

Flood added another three points in the 65th minute, but Parks responded five minutes later to level the scores again. Flood then missed a crucial penalty with two minutes to go that would have kept his team in the Six Nations race.