England took their one clear chance to score a try in the storm at BT Murrayfield while Scotland again failed to take any of theirs and that was the entire difference between the teams in a dour, weather-affected Calcutta Cup clash.
Replacement prop Ellis Genge was driven over from close range with ten minutes remaining to break a 3-3 stalemate after both sides traded blows and mistakes in the strong swirling winds and driving rain all afternoon.
Again Scotland captain Stuart Hogg was in focus at the crucial moment, as he struggled to deal with a George Ford grubber kick under his own posts and had to concede a scrum-five, from which England capitalised with their key score.
But once again it was a series of missed chances for a Scotland side who have failed to score a try in the first two games of this 2020 Guinness Six Nations.
They showed little idea of how to break down the English defence stacked up on their own line as they had done against Ireland last week in Dublin, and the clamour to bring back the errant stand-off Finn Russell will surely become relentless before the next game against Italy in Rome in a fortnight’s time.
Scotland roared into action with Sam Johnson piling into the recieving defender off the kick-off, but the pattern was quickly established as Maro Itoje reached in at a ruck and batted the ball back, and the Scots were penalised for going off their feet trying to retrieve the ball.
England’s gameplan was quickly evident – kick almost every clean possession they got. Ford’s direction wasn’t the greatest in the swirling wind, but Scotland had terrible trouble securing their own lineout ball, gifting four to the English in the first half.
Owen Farrell missed his first penalty opportunity but kicked his second on ten minutes, and that was to be the only points of the half with the weather playing a major role in stifling both teams.
Scotland did get field position for two mauls inside the England 22. After the first was brought down they opted to kick the penalty to the corner and try again, but this time Tom Curry got in to stall the drive and win the turnover.
Perhaps the best chance of the half fell to England when Adam Hastings was dispossessed and Johnny May got away down the left, but Ali Price got back to make the tackle and Farrell’s decision to kick with an overlap outside of him allowed Hogg to recover.
The Scots full-back was penalised for holding on, but Farrell missed the easy kick and England came up short again when they couldn’t drive a lineout maul and Ford’s drop goal skewed wide.
Scotland had a sniff of a late chance when Hastings chipped over the rush defence but Jones just couldn’t hold on under contact.
Scotland needed a score to get something going, and they nearly got one from the unlikeliest of sources when Rory Sutherland picked up when George Ford dropped a high ball and charged into the 22.
Huw Jones nearly darted into a gap as the Scots tried to press their advantage, but England’s defence regrouped and once again the home side seemed short of ideas on how to breach it, settling for a Hastings penalty when an English defender didn’t roll away.
England missed a three-man overlap directly from the restart after a knock on, and Scotland scrambled away without damage, but the next 15 minutes were the key point of the match.
The home side enjoyed control of territory and possession in and around the 22 as England’s kicking game went slapstick in the swirling wind, but once again they showed little threat of breaking through a set defence when established in the scoring zone.
It was almost certain to come back to haunt them, and when England finally wriggled clear of the grip, Farrell missed another easy penalty.
However England made the decisive move of the match when Ford’s grubber kick looked aimless but dribbled slowly to the line between the posts with Hogg unsure whether to wait or take possession.
He just got downward pressure with his body before Farrell got the touchdown and it was confirmed by the TMO, but the Scotland captain was adjudged to have carried over his own line.
That meant a scrum five and in the sort of territory where Scotland had struggled to make an impact, they were ruthless. The Scottish scrum held, but England swiftly moved it away and then drove Ellis Genge over the line after a couple of phases, Farrell converting.
The England captain made his side safe with a penalty as the Scots tried to win possession back by illegal means, and there was only time for Hastings’ second penalty to rescue a losing bonus point.
Scotland: S Hogg (capt); S Maitland, H Jones, S Johnson, B Kinghorn; A Hastings, A Price; R Sutherland, F Brown, Z Fagerson; S Cummings, J Gray; J Ritchie, H Watson, M Bradbury.
Replacements: S McInally for Brown 52, A Dell for Sutherland 60, S Berghan for Fagerson 60, B Toolis for Cummings 56, N Haining for Bradbury 75, Harris for Jones 56.
England: G Furbank; J May, J Joseph, O Farrell (capt), E Daly; G Ford, W Heinz; M Vunipola, J George, K Sinckler; M Itoje, G Kruis; L Ludham, S Underhill, T Curry.
Replacements: T Dun, E Genge for Vunipola 56, W Stuart for Sinckler 78, J Launchbury for Kruis 72, C Lawes for Ludham 52, B Earl for Underhill 66, B Youngs for Heinz 59.
Ref: P Gauzere (FFR)