England beat Scotland 38-18 on the opening day of rugby’s Six Nations tournament, as Ireland held on to defeat defending champion Wales 30-22.
Chris Ashton, Billy Twelvetrees, Geoff Parling and Danny Care touched down for England, which outscored Scotland four tries to two at Twickenham Stadium in London. Owen Farrell kicked 18 points as England won the Calcutta Cup contested between the two teams for the fourth straight year.
“I’m really pleased with the start,” England coach Stuart Lancaster told the British Broadcasting Corp. “I think we’ve got a lot of confidence, and we’ll try to build on that.”
After Farrell opened the scoring with a third-minute penalty, Scotland’s Sean Maitland went over in the corner to give Scotland a 5-3 lead.
Farrell booted a pair of penalties to put England back in front and Ashton went between two defenders to touch down in the 31st minute, with the try confirmed by video review, to increase the lead to 16-8. Farrell then kicked his fourth penalty, which was matched by Greig Laidlaw just before halftime.
Twelvetrees, making his England national team debut, scored a try just after halftime, which Farrell converted to make it 26-11. Parling went over in the 55th minute, and Russell Hogg’s try pulled Scotland within 31-18 with nine minutes left.
Care then went over in the final minute, with Farrell converting for the third time, to close the scoring.
Ireland jumped out to a big lead at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff then held off a second-half rally to send Wales to an eighth consecutive loss and fifth straight at home.
Tries from Simon Zebo, Cian Healy and Brian O’Driscoll helped Ireland take a 30-3 lead in the 43rd minute. Alex Cuthbert, Leigh Halfpenny and Craig Mitchell then touched down as the home side rallied before falling short.
Jonathan Sexton kicked three penalties and three conversions to finish with 15 points for the Irish, while Halfpenny added a penalty and two conversions to his try.
The first round of matches concludes tomorrow as France, the slight favorite over England with U.K. bookmakers to win the title, plays Italy in Rome.