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Josh Hodgson in action against Scotland.

England recovered from a slow start to down a tremendously brave Scotland side 38-12 in Coventry to keep their hopes of reaching the Four Nations final alive. 

Match report: England survive Scottish scare

Russell athletic steals the show 

Scotland winger Matthew Russell dispelled centuries of work in the field of physics to score perhaps one of the greatest tries in rugby league history. With his entire body outside the field of play, Russell not only managed to contort himself to keep his legs and torso off the ground, but he somehow grounded the ball despite the attention of two would-be defenders and seemingly no room to work with. Initially sent upstairs as a 'no try', the video review official found no evidence that there had been any separation, and the original decision was overturned. We've seen some acrobatic tries over the years – think Nathan Ross's effort earlier this year – but this might have been the most spectacular at international level since Greg Inglis and Mark Gasnier combined for the Kangaroos at the SCG in 2008.  

History made in Coventry

The last time a rugby league International was played in the Midlands, Chicago Cubs fans were clinging onto celebrations of their 1908 World Series pennant. England were soundly beaten on that occasion 104 years ago, and Chicagoans surely thought they wouldn't have to wait so long for another title. Wars have been fought, movies made and songs sung about the England-Scotland rivalry, but this was their first Test match. Ricoh Arena in Coventry played host to the historic clash, and following emotional renditions of the national anthems, the 34 players put on a spectacle befitting of the occasion. The Scots got the early jump and an upset of epic proportions looked on the cards, only for the English to storm home to keep their Four Nations hopes alive.  


Scotland's diamond in the Brough

He entered the Four Nations as Scotland's main attacking weapon, and Danny Brough lived up to the hype with a star showing against the Kangaroos last week. Following on from his impressive performance in the tournament opener, the fearless five-eighth showed glimpses of his best against England but was sent to the sin bin for his second professional foul in the space of five minutes. His ability to hold up the defence for an extra split second by straightening at the line provided his teammates with plenty of room on the outside, and was on show as he put Dale Ferguson over for a consolation try. His left-foot contributed a game-high 269 metres, but he let himself down with back-to-back kicks that went out on the full, as well as three missed conversions. 

Whitehead turns the game on its head

He was Canberra's talisman in 2016, and on Sunday morning (AEDT) Elliott Whitehead proved England's hero as he crossed twice in the space of five minutes to turn an eight-point deficit into a four-point lead at half-time. The first came off a simple angled run that got the hosts on the board, and he backed up that effort shortly after with a rather fortuitous try as he collected a Luke Gale grubber to touch down under the posts. The back-rower got through his usual truckload of work (28 tackles and 80 metres) and was even rewarded with a rare early mark. 

Death, taxes and a Ryan Hall try

There used to only be two certainties in life, but England winger Ryan Hall looks to have added a third after he took his freakish try-scoring tally to 30 from 30 Tests with a simple put down against the Scots. Five-eighth George Williams laid the groundwork as he attracted Scotland's outside defence before putting in a grubber for his winger to score untouched. It was an impressive performance from man-of-the-match Williams who was ably assisted by halves partner Luke Gale. The pair combined for four try assists while the latter made up for a quiet game against the Kiwis to cross for a try of his own to put the result beyond doubt. England coach Wayne Bennett now has to decide whether to bring Gareth Widdop in for the do-or-die showdown with Australia next week.   



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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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