Scotland's performance in last night's first match of the Under-20 RBS 6 Nations in Plymouth was a massive encouragement for the game north of the border despite the loss, with the margin of defeat drastically reduced from last year's final scoreline of 59-3.

In wind and rain and on a heavy pitch, Sean Lineen's team competed in most areas, the only real weakness being in the set scrum where the power of the England front row was all too evident. England looked slick behind the scrum too in the first half, but were well contained after the break. Among the Scots to impress were the No.8 Adam Ashe who, like Rory Hughes and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, has clearly benefited from experience with Scotland's sevens last season.

Others to show up well were centre Mark Bennett, who looked the most incisive of the backs; locks Jonny Gray and Adam Sinclair; and young wing Damian Holroyd who did well in defence.

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Scotland, playing with the stiff breeze at their backs, drew first blood, their pressure from the kick-off rewarded with a penalty converted from 35 metres by stand-off Tommy Allan.

They lost the flanker Ruaridh Leishman to the sin-bin and paid the price as England used their extra numbers to win a penalty try from a scrum five metres out, leaving stand-off Henry Slade with a simple conversion. Allan reduced the interval deficit to a single point with his second penalty.

Scotland looked even better after the break and challenged strongly but a penalty by Slade gave England a cushion and, with minutes to go, their powerful prop Luke Cowan Dickie used his enormous strength to plough through three tackles for the clinching score.

Scotland's performance in last night's first match of the Under-20 RBS 6 Nations in Plymouth was a massive encouragement for the game north of the border despite the loss, with the margin of defeat drastically reduced from last year's final scoreline of 59-3.

In wind and rain and on a heavy pitch, Sean Lineen's team competed in most areas, the only real weakness being in the set scrum where the power of the England front row was all too evident. England looked slick behind the scrum too in the first half, but were well contained after the break. Among the Scots to impress were the No.8 Adam Ashe who, like Rory Hughes and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, has clearly benefited from experience with Scotland's sevens last season.

Others to show up well were centre Mark Bennett, who looked the most incisive of the backs; locks Jonny Gray and Adam Sinclair; and young wing Damian Holroyd who did well in defence.

Scotland, playing with the stiff breeze at their backs, drew first blood, their pressure from the kick-off rewarded with a penalty converted from 35 metres by stand-off Tommy Allan.

They lost the flanker Ruaridh Leishman to the sin-bin and paid the price as England used their extra numbers to win a penalty try from a scrum five metres out, leaving stand-off Henry Slade with a simple conversion. Allan reduced the interval deficit to a single point with his second penalty.

Scotland looked even better after the break and challenged strongly but a penalty by Slade gave England a cushion and, with minutes to go, their powerful prop Luke Cowan Dickie used his enormous strength to plough through three tackles for the clinching score.