Rampant England retains Six Nations, beats Scotland 61-21

By STEVE DOUGLAS - AP Sports Writer ,

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England's Danny Care scores his side's final try during the Six Nations rugby union international between England and Scotland at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday March 11, 2017.

England's Danny Care scores his side's final try during the Six Nations rugby union international between England and Scotland at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday March 11, 2017. (Photo: AP)

LONDON (AP) — England powered to its second straight Six Nations title and tied New Zealand's tier-one record of 18 straight wins by thrashing Scotland 61-21 at Twickenham on Saturday.

The 136th Calcutta Cup proved to be an unexpected mismatch as the English crossed seven times to record their highest points total against their oldest international rival, and equal the biggest margin of victory in this fixture.

Elusive center Jonathan Joseph was the undoubted star, twice breaking the line in center-field for tries in the first half and adding another soon after halftime.

Replacements Danny Care (two), Anthony Watson, and Billy Vunipola were the other try-scorers in England's bonus-point win that ends the race for the championship with one round to spare.

England's juggernaut under Eddie Jones heads to Dublin next weekend looking to become only the sixth team to clinch back-to-back Grand Slams. A win would also see England move to 19 in a row since October 2015, breaking the world record streak at rugby's highest level achieved by the All Blacks over 2015-16.

England inside center Owen Farrell passed a late fitness test on a leg injury and finished with 26 points from seven conversions and four penalties.

Outside center Huw Jones was the standout player amid a horror show for Scotland, scoring two second-half tries.

The Scots, without a win at Twickenham since 1983, were talked up massively in the buildup after impressive wins over Ireland and Scotland but they failed to handle the occasion and the increased weight of expectation.

Their hopes of landing a first Triple Crown in 27 years and a first championship since 1999 were ruthlessly torn apart by England's best performance of 2017.

England's Danny Care celebrates after scoring his side's final try during the Six Nations rugby union international between England and Scotland at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday March 11, 2017
England's Danny Care celebrates after scoring his side's final try during the Six Nations rugby union international between England and Scotland at Twickenham stadium in London, Saturday March 11, 2017

The English have been slow starters in this campaign. Not here. The game was virtually over by halftime, which England went into leading 30-7.

Scotland's nightmare first half comprised of hooker Fraser Brown getting sin-binned inside two minutes for a tip-tackle on Elliot Daly, strike runner Stuart Hogg going off for a Head Injury Assessment on 18 minutes and never returning, replacement center Mark Bennett going off on a stretcher, and pitiful wide defense that Joseph skewered with some superb running angles.

Back in the team after being dropped to the bench against Italy last time out, Joseph sped through opposite center Alex Dunbar's weak tackle 40 meters out with his first touch of the ball and cruised unchallenged over the line in the 3rd.

Farrell converted, kicked two penalties either side of Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell missing touch with a penalty, and played a part in a backline move that saw Joseph break the line, slalom past covering defender Tim Visser and dot under the crossbar.

Behind 20-0 after 25 minutes, it was already getting embarrassing for the Scots. But on their first real attacking opportunity, they went for a lineout instead of kicking for goal and prop Gordon Reid barreled over from close range for a try.

It was brief respite because Farrell booted another penalty and Joseph ran another sensational angle off Farrell's pop-pass and laid on Watson — Daly's replacement — to sprint over just before halftime.

The second half was damage limitation for Scotland but Joseph couldn't be stopped, completing his hat trick in the 43rd by running onto scrumhalf Ben Youngs' pass in a move off a scrum.

Jones' try double, in the 50th and 69th minutes, will likely be forgotten as England passed the half-century mark with fit-again No. 8 Vunipola rolling over from a maul in the 58th, and Care sniping over in the 72nd and again in stoppage time. Farrell's final conversion ensured a 40-point margin of victory, matching the 43-3 scoreline at Twickenham in 2001.

England has an unassailable eight-point lead over second-place Ireland after four rounds.

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