Wilkinson Supreme In England Victory.
3rd February 2007 By Munster Rugby
Johnny Wilkinson made a triumphant return to international with a try scoring Man of the Match performance in England’s 42-20 victory over Scotland
Prior to the game, Scotland coach Frank Hadden and some commentators had expressed reservations about Wilkinson starting this game after such a long lay-off from international fare but this game wasn’t in progress any length of time before it was obvious that Ashton, Wilkinson and England had gotten this particular selection absolutely spot-on.
England were over the line in the ninth minute when Harry Ellis was driven over after a good move on the left but after ‘going upstairs’ referee Marius Jonker awarded England a five metre scrum. Ellis knocked on at the base of the scrum but England disrupted the Scottish put-in and the pressure ended with Wilkinson’s knocking over the penalty for a three point lead.
Chris Paterson had an opportunity to level in the fifteenth minute when Martin Corry was penalised at a line-out but his effort went to the right of the uprights but he made amends three minutes later leveling the game with a penalty from 23 metres.
From the restart, Paterson was caught in possession and from the turnover ball Wilkinson dropped a goal to give his side the lead again (6-3).
In the 25th minute Scotland went in front with a try from Simon Taylor after England made a total hash of a line-out inside their own 22 and Cusiter’s conversion was inch perfect (6-10).
Wilkinson made Scotland pay for a line-out indiscretion in the 28th min penalty and then England’s best passage – instigated by an Ellis break – resulted in another Wilko penalty that put England back in front (12-10).
England upped the pace and good hands from Andy Farrell, Mike Tindall and Wilkinson allowed Jason Robinson make it in at the corner flag (17-10). By now England were on fire and another smashing Ellis break carried on by Tindall had the Scots in all sort of disarray but they survived until the break.
Within two minutes of the restart Scotland had reduced the gap to four when he kicked a penalty from the England 10 metre line after England had been caught offside in midfield.
That was cancelled out by a 48th minute Wilkinson penalty and four minutes later he struck another from 50 metres for a 23-13 lead.
Ellis then put through a lovely kick through and when Sean Lamont failed to deal with it Robinson was on hand to score his second try.
Then the moment the whole stadium and a nations would have wished for. A Wilkinson try.
He got in at the right hand corner, launching himself to avoid the corner flag. Jonker again had to go upstairs and Donal Courtney awarded the try. And how Courtney came up with that decision remains a mystery because TV footage clearly showed that Wilkinson leg was well in touch before he managed to ground the ball.
For good measure he landed the conversion and then when his touch find gave England a five metre line-out Magnus Lund crashed over wide on the left to push England out to 42-13
When he left the field in the 73rd minute he received a standing ovation and replacement Rob Dewey brought an end to the scoring with a late Scottish try that will have been scant consolation to them.
England: O Morgan; J Lewsey, M Tindall, A Farrell, J Robinson; J Wilkinson T Flood 74 mins), H Ellis; P Freshwater, G Chuter (L Mears 74 mins), P Vickery capt (J White 74 mins); L Deacon, D Grewcock; J Worsley, M Lund, M Corry.
Scotland: H Southwell; S Lamont, M Di Rollo, A Henderson (R Dewey 64 mins), C Paterson; D Parks ( R Lamont 68 mins) , C Cusiter R Lawson 66 mins); G Kerr, D Hall, E Murray; A Kellock S Murray 52 mins, J Hamilton; S Taylor, K Brown, D Callam.
Referee: M Jonker (SA).