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Bennett slams England after beating Scots

Press AssociationPress Association 5/11/2016 James O'Brien

Wayne Bennett could not hide his disappointment after England struggled to a 38-12 win over tournament outsiders Scotland to keep their hopes alive of reaching the Four Nations final.

Last Saturday's dramatic 17-16 defeat by New Zealand left England with no room for error in their remaining two group games and they had to overcome a scare at Coventry's Ricoh Arena to stay alive in the rugby league competition.

Scotland - comfortably beaten by Australia in their opener - took advantage of a pedestrian England performance to lead 8-0 after 25 minutes but could not maintain their high-octane start as Elliott Whitehead crossed twice to give the hosts a halftime lead.

Mark Percival, Ryan Hall, Jermaine McGillvary and Luke Gale all scored during England's best spell of the game before Liam Farrell completed the scoring on the final hooter.

But coach Bennett knows England need to improve significantly to beat Australia at the London Stadium next Sunday.

"There wasn't much to enjoy about that performance," Bennett said.

"We put ourselves under pressure in the first half and had to find a way to get out of it, which to their credit they did in the second half.

"For 25 minutes in the second half they were pretty good but then went back to their old habits in the last 15 minutes.

"There was no particular reason for the slow start. They might have been reading the papers, thinking they just had to turn up and win."

When asked what England need to improve on against Australia next weekend, Bennett said: "You name it, I'll agree with you.

"We weren't good. From how we played last week to this week, there's no comparison."

Bennett made four changes for England's first-ever meeting with Scotland, with George Williams, Percival, Scott Taylor and Farrell all given a chance to impress.

The experienced Australian coach admitted the performance had made his selection for the must-win game easier.

"I tried to give everyone a game - with the exception of one player (Stevie Ward) - and I've done that," he said.

Scotland endured a tough Four Nations debut on the opening night but gave themselves a chance of causing a major upset after crossing early on through Kane Linnett and Matty Russell.

England's superior quality eventually told but the Bravehearts kept going despite Danny Brough's yellow card and finished strongly, scoring a third try through Dale Ferguson.

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