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Rugby News

Birthday boy Ford ensures England avoid defeat

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On his 26th birthday, George Ford was the one doing the gift giving after the Tigers fly-half prevented Scotland recording a famous victory over England at Twickenham when he scored and then converted his own try to ensure the final Six Nations fixture of this year's tournament and 2019 Calcutta Cup ended as a 38-all draw.

Ford had only been on the pitch for 15 minutes when he stepped his way through the Scottish defence to dive under the posts and ensure England avoided suffering what would have been one of rugby's greatest ever international comebacks after racing out to a 31-0 lead over Scotland in just half an hour.

Jack Nowell opened the scoring just two minutes in to the match and was followed by converted tries to Tom Curry (9th minute) and Joe Launchbury (13th minute) to see the home side lead 21-0 only 15 minutes in to final fixture for both teams in the 2019 tournament.

Milestone man Ben Youngs was denied a try in his record-breaking 85th appearance for the national side after the TMO ruled the scrum-half had knocked on in his attempt to ground the ball after chasing down a grubber kick to the Scotland in-goal.

Owen Farrell added a successful penalty goal attempt soon after to extend the lead out to 24 points after just 25 minutes.

However, the home side didn't have to wait long for the bonus-point score as Tigers winger Jonny May crossed in the 30th minute, after Youngs took a quick-tap from a penalty awarded to England just inside the Scots half and offloaded to Henry Slade who then flicked a no-look pass to May on the left wing for the Leicester speedster to run it over untouched for his sixth try of the tournament.

Scotland had their first points of the afternoon just minutes before the half-time break when hooker Stuart McInally charged down a clearing kick from the home side and out-ran Farrell and May to dive over under the posts, which fly-half Finn Russell converted to see his side trailing by 24 points at the break.

Many expected much of the same in the second half with the match appearing all but over and result decided, however Russell and his Scottish teammates had other ideas as they flew out of the blocks after the break to score a second try in the 47th minute and four more unanswered tries in the half an hour to follow to take the lead by seven points in the 78th minute.

Leicester's Dan Cole was brought in to the match on the hour mark by England to join Youngs on 85 appearances for the national side - level with Tigers legend Rory Underwood on top of the club's appearances list for England Rugby.

Facing defeat at Twickenham from Scotland for the first time in almost 40 years, Farrell was subbed by Jones and England rallied under the guidance of Ford at fly-half and worked their way deep in to the visitors half for the Leicester No.10 to find his way over in extra time and convert the try to end the match in a draw.

Earlier in the day, Italy were defeated by France 14-25 in Rome and Wales dominated Ireland from kick-off through until the final whistle to record a 25-7 win in Cardiff and complete a successful Grand Slam of this season's tournament to win the 2019 Six Nations.