Scotland deserved credit as they went passionately at England in the opening exchanges. England, however, took only ten minutes to score their first try and Scotland can be forgiven for cursing their luck as all but one of the World Champions' four tries could be considered fortuitous. Bath's Iain Balshaw went over for the second try when it seemed his club mate, Danny Grewcock, had knocked on having lost control of the ball in contact.
Another Bath man, Simon Danielli, scored Scotland's only try in the second half. As painful as defeat may have been against their archrivals, Scotland can take heart from a credible performance and be relieved that the massacre which many punters had predicted never materialised.
An indication of the changing power base in English rugby was the fact that just one Leicester Tigers player was amongst England's 15 which must be the double Heineken Cup champions' smallest representation in the national side in some time. That said, only two clubs, Northampton Saints and Gloucester, had three players in the starting line up. The fact that the dropping of Tigers' Neil Back is barely noticed, such is the quality of his replacement, Sale's Chris Jones, is a measure of the strength in depth that this English squad possesses at the moment.
Three of the eight quarter-finalist clubs,Edinburgh Rugby, Gloucester and London Wasps and 16 of those who played on Saturday at Murrayfield will be involved in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals on 9/10/11 of April.
Scotland 9: Edinburgh Rugby 9 (Philip, Laney, Webster, Paterson, Murray, Taylor, Hines, Hogg, Blair)
England 7: Gloucester 4 (Woodman, Vickery, Gomarsall, Paul); London Wasps (Lewsey, Dallaglio, Shaw)