LONDON — 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 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 Anthony Watson, Billy Vunipola and Danny Care (two) 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.
Earlier, in Rome, full back Brice Dulin ran in a late try to hand France its first bonus point and only second win in this year’s Six Nations in a hard-fought 40-18 win over Italy Saturday.
With only win and two tries scored in three matches, Les Bleus traveled to the Stadio Olimpico looking to redress the balance of a largely underwhelming campaign. — AP