By Jonathon Moore
Rugby union editor, Twickenham
England 40-9 Scotland
England booked their Six Nations Grand Slam decider against Ireland in Dublin with a hard-fought win over a passionate Scotland at Twickenham.
It was not a performance to send their fans home in raptures but 18 points from the boot of Jonny Wilkinson and tries from Josh Lewsey, Ben Cohen and Jason Robinson (2) proved enough to maintain England's date with destiny.
Scotland, for their part, performed valiantly, but they never looked able to out-wit a well organised England defence at a stadium in which they have failed to register a try since 1999.
England never managed to set Twickenham alight. But with all eyes on Dublin, they will be happy enough to have reached the final game of the championship unscathed.
We are still not hitting the highs but we are winning the matches
England coach Clive Woodward
The home side ran up a quick six point lead, courtesy of sloppy Scottish defending and Wilkinson made no mistake with the resulting penalties.
Already under pressure, Scotland received a double blow when they lost two players for some dreadfully cynical play in as many minutes.
Andrew Mower was the first to see the yellow card after a high tackle on Lewsey. Seconds later, number eight Simon Taylor was sent on his way for a wayward tackle on Mike Tindall.
Struggling in the set piece and two men down, Bryan Redpath was handsomely rewarded for a superb darting run with a penalty outside England's 22.
Tries: Lewsey, Cohen, Robinson (2)
Con: Wilkinson (3), Grayson
Pens: Wilkinson (4)
Pens: Paterson (3)
Paterson brought his side back within three points and from the re-start Robinson did his bit to even things up numerically, when he became the third player sent to the bin for another high tackle - this time on winger Kenny Logan.
A fine touch-line kick from Paterson levelled the scores.
But it also prompted England's best move of the half, allowing Lewsey to grab his third try in two games when the Scottish defence finally ran out of men in the left-hand corner.
At 13-6 down, Scotland may have been behind on the scoreboard, but led by Tom Smith and Gordon Bulloch they constantly broke the gain-line and put England on the back foot.
Another Paterson penalty reduced the arrears to just four points before Wilkinson replied from in front of the posts to end an action-packed 40 minutes.
If England stuttered in the first half, they came out roaring in the second.
There was a lot of good things in our performance today and England had to work very hard
Scotland coach Ian McGeechan
Ten minutes of pressure resulted in a Scottish scrum deep in their 22 and when Redpath made a mess of his attempted clearance Cohen touched over for his easiest try of the season.
Wilkinson made no mistake with the conversion and added another three to his tally virtually from the re-start when Scott Murray was penalised for offside.
With the scoreline reading 26-9 England looked more at ease.
And when Jason Robinson extended the lead with a blistering midfield run to outpace a flagging Scottish defence, Clive Woodward even opted to give Wilkinson a well deserved rest.
The Newcastle captain, who slotted his final conversion with well-practised ease, was replaced by veteran Paul Grayson, making his first start for England since 1999.
Ben Cohen celebrates his try
In one last push, Scotland pressed hard to force England onto the back foot, only to concede yet another seven points when Matt Dawson released Robinson inside the Scottish 22.
With only the line in front of him, the Sale flyer duly touched down for his second and Grayson's conversion pushed England three points short of their previous record before the whistle was blown.
England: Lewsey, Robinson, Greenwood, Tindall, Cohen, Wilkinson, Dawson, Rowntree, Thompson, Leonard, Johnson, Kay, Hill, Back, Dallaglio.
Replacements: Regan, Woodman, Grewcock, J. Worsley, Gomarsall, Grayson, Luger.
Scotland: G. Metcalfe, Paterson, McLaren, Craig, Logan, Townsend, Redpath, T. Smith, Bulloch, Douglas, Murray, Hines, White, Mower, Taylor.
Replacements: Russell, G. Kerr, Grimes, Beattie, Blair, G. Ross, Utterson.
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland).