SCOTLAND’S Alasdair Strokosch was taken to hospital last night with a suspected fractured cheekbone and, if the initial diagnosis is confirmed, the flanker is likely to miss the remainder of the Six Nations.
Strokosch lasted just 13 minutes of a bruising Calcutta Cup encounter at Twickenham yesterday. England won 38-18 but the Scotland No.6’s participation was curtailed after he suffered the early injury and was replaced by David Denton.
The potential loss of the Perpignan back-row forward would come as a big blow to new Scotland coach Scott Johnson, who watched his side open their Six Nations campaign in depressingly familiar fashion.
The Scots started brightly enough with a tenth-minute try from debutant winger Sean Maitland but were overpowered in the second half by an impressive England side.
Scotland’s long wait for a win at Twickenham will now stretch to at least 32 years.
Johnson blamed Scotland’s failings at the breakdown for the defeat and offered a typically frank assessment.
“We didn’t win the contact area so we were never going to win the contest,” the interim coach said. “England won every contact. We could sit there and say a thousand things about when we had the ball.
“The reality is, when we didn’t have the ball, we didn’t do well enough and we made it too easy for them.”
Scotland, who last won at Twickenham in 1983, had their own moments of enterprise but were blown away in the second half.
The Scots, however, scored the opening try out of nowhere when the impressive full-back Stuart Hogg was allowed to run a deep kick back virtually unchallenged and New Zealand-born winger Maitland marked his debut by squeezing over in the corner. But England produced a performance full of energy, aggression and ambition that brought tries for Chris Ashton, Billy Twelvetrees, Geoff Parling and Danny Care in an ultimately convincing victory.
Hogg, Scotland’s most potent attacking threat, scored a 71st-minute try to reduce England’s lead to 13 points but a late score from Danny Care quashed any hopes of a comeback.
Scotland play Italy next in what is already being billed a Wooden Spoon decider. The match is at Murrayfield on Saturday, the first of three successive home games for Scotland in this year’s championship.