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ENGLISH STILL TO HIT PEAK FORM - STUART.

SCOTLAND ................. 0 ENGLAND ................. 20 TRIES: Burrell, Brown CONS: Farrell (2) PEN: Farrell DG: Care STUART Lancaster admitted England's victory over Scotland at Murrayfield should have been even more comfortable.

Tries from Mike Brown and Luther Burrell helped dispatch feeble opposition and thrust England back into RBS 6 Nations title contention.

Lancaster was pleased with a highly-effective performance that kept Scotland pointless for the first time since 1978, but accepted that more tries should have been scored.

"We were pleased with a lot of aspects, but are frustrated that we didn't convert more of our opportunities because we dominated the second half," the head coach said.

"There were chances there that we didn't take and we definitely have regrets over the points we left out there.

"We played some really good stuff in difficult conditions. Scotland had to defend desperately."

The centre partnership of Billy Twelvetrees and Burrell impressed for a second weekend in succession and Lancaster was delighted by their contribution.

"The work that (assistant coaches) Andy Farrell and Mike Catt have done with Luther and Billy is really paying off," Lancaster said.

"The timing and number of options going into the line were excellent and Luther's try was a good case in point.

"They're going well as a partnership, especially given that they've only trained together for two weeks and have played twice.

"They'll need to be on top of their game against the Irish centres, who are clearly world class."

Another pleasing aspect to emerge from the trip to Edinburgh was the lack of injuries with Joe Launchbury suffering a dead leg and Jonny May departing with cramp. Both will be available to face Ireland in two weeks time.

Lancaster insists England are back in the title frame after atoning for their 26-24 defeat by France on the opening day of the Championship.

"Even though we lost to France we always felt we're still in it," Lancaster said.

"It does set us up for an important game against Ireland. Ireland have played two, won two and have played really well. But we're confident also."

For Scotland, it was another day to forget. Their guests enjoyed 65 per cent of the second-half possession and it was little surprise England were able to turn down many of the 16 penalties they won in favour of chasing an extra try.

Interim head coach Scott Johnson took some consolation from the fact that just two touchdowns were conceded, but the Australian could not hide from his side's failings.

Captain Greig Laidlaw, stand-off Duncan Weir and full-back Stuart Hogg were all instructed to pen England in by kicking for the corners but few of the efforts landed in the right spot.

Johnson said: "It was extremely frustrating. I've got a sore neck from looking down one end of the field for the entire second half.

"We wanted to turn them a little bit. We didn't want to let them have too many line-outs in our half. As it turned out they had 16 in our 22. It didn't work out "On the back of the set-pieces, we lost a couple of balls and a bit of con-fidence and ended up trying to kickout of positions that we were not strong in. So the execution of the strategy wasn't great."

The Scots netted a surprise thirdplace finish last year but after a dismal defeat to Ireland in Dublin and now this heavy loss to the Auld Enemy, Johnson was forced to defend his selection policy.

Of the Dark Blues' backs, only scrum-half Laidlaw and the 84-cap Sean Lamont have played more than 20 Tests but Johnson insists the likes of Weir, Matt Scott and Hogg can be heroes in the future.

"We are still naive," said the man who will hand over to Clermont Auvergne's Vern Cotter this summer. "We have pretty inexperienced guys at 10, 12 and 13. Even Hoggy at full-back, despite being a Lion, hasn't played many Tests."

CAPTION(S):

Luther Burrell is mobbed after scoring England's second try

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 9, 2014
Words:671
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