England 38 - 12 Scotland: Bright start but Bravehearts fade

Jonny Lomax of England tackled by Danny Addy of Scotland during the Four Nations match at the Ricoh Arena.  Picture: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Jonny Lomax of England tackled by Danny Addy of Scotland during the Four Nations match at the Ricoh Arena. Picture: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
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England were thankful to avoid an embarrassing defeat as Scotland started brilliantly before fading in the first ever rugby league international between the teams.

With seven players from the second tier of professional competitions in England and Australia, the odds were stacked against the Scots, but they stunned their hosts in Coventry by scoring the first two tries in this Ladbrokes Four Nations clash.

England gradually recovered, with Ryan Hall extending his record tally of tries to 30 in as many appearances and Luke Gale finishing with 14 points from a try and five goals.

Led superbly by Danny Brough, once tipped to become the England stand-off, the Scots dominated the opening 25 minutes and thoroughly deserved their 8-0 lead.

Left centre Kane Linnett was an imposing presence and opened the scoring on six minutes, finishing off a slick handling move for the game’s first try.

England fell further behind on 24 minutes when winger Matty Russell produced a miraculous finish.

The Irvine-born Warrington player was dragged into touch by Jermaine McGillvary and Kallum Watkins, but still managed to reach out one-handed to plant the ball on the line, providing enough evidence for video referee Ben Thaler to award the score.

It could have been worse for England, for Brough, pictured, was wide with both conversion attempts, and the hosts managed to post a couple of tries in the last 13 minutes of the first half.

Second rower Elliott Whitehead strolled through a gap from Gale’s neat pass and then went over for a second try.

Gale converted both to put his side into a 12-8 interval lead and they went on to boss the second half.

England stand-off George Williams, growing into the game, made the running for Mark Percival’s try and produced a sublime softly struck kick for Hall to grab his 30th.

As Scotland began to fade, their last chance of pulling off a shock disappeared on 57 minutes when Brough was sin-binned for the latest in a series of professional fouls.

Full-back Jonny Lomax took advantage of the extra man by working right winger McGillvary over unopposed at the corner and the Scots were still a man down when Sam Burgess’ pass out of the tackle got Gale scampering away for his try.

But Steve McCormack’s men were in no mood to roll over. Last-ditch tackles from Lomax and McGillvary denied tries to Danny Addy and Linnett before Brough, just back on the field, got second rower Dale Ferguson charging over for Scotland’s third try.

England had the final say in stoppage time when Liam Farrell went over.