England gained a 38-12 victory over Scotland tonight at the Ricoh Arena with a strong second-half performance after they led only 12-8 at half-time.
Wigan’s George Williams, who came in to replace Gareth Widdop, was the star of the show for England and must surely have played himself in the team to face Australia next Sunday, while the match was England’s first victory under the captaincy of Sam Burgess
Depending on the results of other games, that 26-points advantage could prove crucial if England are to reach the Four Nations final at Anfield.
Scotland began the game superbly, taking the lead after only six minutes when Kane Linnett scored from a Danny Brough pass, with Brough unable to add the goal.
And they extended their lead on 24 minutes, when Matty Russell scored a spectacular try on the left wing, diving spectacularly to touch down in the face of a challenge from Jermaine McGillvary and Callum Watkins. Referee Gerard Sutton called it no-try but went to the video-referee Ben Thaler, who reversed the decision and awarded the try.
England fought back in the final 15 minutes of the first half with two tries from Elliott Whitehead, both of them from Luke Gale assists.
In the second half England gradually asserted their superiority, scoring further tries from Mark Percival, Ryan Hall, Jermaine McGillvary and Luke Gale, with Gale adding two conversions, before Dale Ferguson scored a Scotland try in the 70th minute, with Brough again unable to convert. Earlier Brough had been sinbinned for ten minutes for a professional foul, and the Scots were on the wrong end of a 17-7 penalty count.
England scored what could be a crucial try in the 80th minute when Liam Farrell was able to touch down a grubber from his Wigan team-mate Williams, and Gale’s conversion made it 38-12.
A full report, analysis and photos will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.
1 Jonny Lomax (St Helens)
2 Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants)
3 Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)
4 Mark Percival (St Helens)
5 Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos)
6 George Williams (Wigan Warriors)
7 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers)
8 Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)
9 Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders)
10 Scott Taylor (Hull FC)
11 Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)
12 Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)
13 Sam Burgess (C) (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
14 Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
15 George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
16 Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons)
17 Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves)
Also in 19-man squad
18 Dan Sarginson (Wigan Warriors)
19 John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)
1 Lachlan Code (North Queensland Cowboys)
2 Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors)
3 Euan Aitken (St George Illawarra Dragons)
4 Kane Linnett (North Queensland Cowboys)
5 Matthew Russell (Warrington Wolves)
6 Danny Brough (C) (Huddersfield Giants)
7 Danny Addy (Bradford Bulls)
8 Adam Walker (Hull Kingston Rovers)
9 Liam Hood (Leigh Centurions)
10 Luke Douglas (Gold Coast Titans)
11 Ben Hellewell (London Broncos)
12 Dale Ferguson (Bradford Bulls)
13 Ben Kavanagh (Bradford Bulls)
14 Tyler Cassel (Wests Tigers)
15 Frankie Mariano (Castleford Tigers)
16 Callum Phillips (Workington Town)
17 Sam Brooks (Widnes Vikings)
Also in 19-man squad
18 Dave Scott (Batley Bulldogs)
19 Brett Phillips (Workington Town)