Six Nations 2014: Owen Farrell and Co lead Scots on a merry dance

Stuart Lancaster's boyish band bounce back to prove they have what it takes to call the tune

Murrayfield

At Super Bowl XLVIII last Sunday they got the Red Hot Chili Peppers miming Give It Away. In the pre-match build-up to Calcutta Cup CXXXII we got the Red Hot Chilli Pipers giving the skirl and drone treatment to Avicii's Wake Me Up. There were not just the pipers piping, but also a group of singers delivering the chorus: "So wake me up when I get older, when I'm wiser and I'm older."

In the 80-minute show that followed, the big question was whether Stuart Lancaster's boyish band would give it away again, as they had done after manoeuvring themselves into the box seat against the All Blacks at Twickenham in November and against France in Paris the previous Saturday. Or, seven days on, would they be wiser for having fallen asleep when it came to reel-in time in the Stade de France bowl and let the big fish off the hook?

As it happened, when the pipers departed and Chris Robshaw led his team out on to the worm-infested pitch, England had little trouble in landing opponents who were more of the minnow variety.

Routine wins against Scottish sides on Caledonian soil are not supposed to be easy to come by for players from the south side of Hadrian's Wall. Just ask the trio who served as England head coach before Lancaster. Martin Johnson, Brian Ashton and Andy Robinson all failed to guide England to victory here.

But then they were all pitted against Scottish sides who had considerably more about them than the home team that turned up yesterday evening – Scottish sides who actually managed to get points on the Murrayfield scoreboard.

This was a second win in two visits to the home of Scottish rugby for Lancaster, the Cumbrian farmer's son who played age group rugby for the land of his Scottish mother.

In 2014 the former Scotland Under-21 flanker launched his international coaching career with a somewhat fortuitous 15-6 success in Edinburgh, blooding seven debutants in the process. This time, however, there was no luck involved.

Owen Farrell was one of those given a baptism two years ago, cushioned in between his Saracens colleagues Charlie Hodgson and Brad Barritt at inside centre. Yesterday evening, playing at outside-half, the assistant coach's son had a curate's egg of a game but, in the general sweep of things, combined with his half-back partner, Danny Care, to give the visitors a controlling influence.

He did not get off to the best of starts, slipping in the Murrayfield mud and pushing wide an early penalty attempt. Still, after Care had seized the initiative and the lead with a drop goal (the sparky scrum-half's second in two games), the young Farrell fixed that sinister Travis Bickle sideways stare of his before putting the boot into a conversion that gave England a 10-0 lead on the quarter-hour.

That particular opportunity came after Luther Burrell, the one-time West Indies Sevens star from Huddersfield, had breezed past Duncan Weir and Greig Laidlaw en route to his second try in two matches for England – courtesy of a slick Care feed from a five-metre scrum in the right corner.

Having succeeded on the penalty front at the third time of asking, Farrell fed a silver platter of a flat pass to Burrell in the last knockings of the opening half that begged to get England home and hosed by the interval. He might be a bright young thing but the Northampton centre showed he remains far from the finished article, blowing the open goal of a chance in front of the home posts.

Not that it mattered. Thirteen unanswered points in the opening 40 minutes proved more than sufficient for Lancaster's men to get a 2014 Six Nations win on the board ahead of the sterner Test against the unbeaten Irish back at HQ on Saturday week.

Not since 1978 had Scotland failed to trouble the scoreboard operator on Calcutta Cup day, a 15-0 defeat. This latest nil was their second in three home matches, following the 28-0 loss to the Springboks in November.

It was a nil very much of the desperandum variety, too. As Scott Johnson, Scotland's caretaker head coach, felt obliged to reflect after a one-way second half in which Farrell converted a Mike Brown try to wrap up the scoring: "The scoreboard flattered us."

It did that. For a fourth match in succession Scotland failed to register a try. Indeed, they have not crossed the English whitewash at home for 10 years, since Simon Danielli's consolation score in a 35-13 loss against Clive Woodward's recently crowned world champions.

Not that the Scots are entirely bereft of a cutting edge. Before heading to Rome the week after next, they may have Euan Murray back in action. The Worcester tighthead prop has been out of commission since cutting a thumb at a Warriors' team-building barbecue.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?