England beat Scotland to reach last eight at Rugby World Cup

England players celebrate after Chris Ashton scores a late try to beat Scotland.

Story highlights

  • England reach World Cup quarterfinals after dramatic 16-12 victory over Scotland
  • Needing to win, Scotland were 12-3 ahead with 24 minutes to go
  • Jonny Wilkinson kicked penalty and drop kick, Chris Ashton scored try to secure win
  • England will next face France, who went through despite loss to Tonga
England went into the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday after a dramatic late 16-12 victory over Scotland at Eden Park in New Zealand.
Needing to win by more than seven points to reach the last eight, Scotland led 12-3 with 24 minutes to go.
But Jonny Wilkinson found his touch to deny Scotland a famous victory, kicking a penalty and a drop kick before Chris Ashton scored a try with three minutes to go.
Scotland picked up a bonus point, but need Georgia to beat Argentina by more than seven points on Sunday to reach the quarterfinals.
"It's tough to take. We knew it would take an extraordinary effort to beat England today but once again we slipped at crucial times. It's been the story of the last couple of weeks," said Scotland captain Alastair Kellock.
"I'm gutted, gutted."
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England were unbeaten in four Group B matches and move on to a quarterfinal against France, whom they beat in the semifinals in Paris four years ago.
"Full credit to Scotland, we knew this was going to be an incredibly tough game and they made it that way," said England skipper Lewis Moody. "We've come up on the right side of the result, but it was a tough game."
France went through despite losing for the second time in Group A, going down 19-14 against Tonga in Wellington on Saturday in the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
The Pacific Islanders needed a bonus-point win, but fell short as Les Bleus went through in second place behind unbeaten New Zealand -- who face Canada on Sunday.
"We played really bad rugby," France captain Thierry Dusautoir said. "Congratulations to Tonga. They played with their hearts.
"We made too many mistakes and just couldn't play a good game. Now we have got to sit down and talk about what we did today."
Tonga's only try came in the 27th minute through scrumhalf Taniela Moa, with Kurt Morath converting for a 10-6 halftime lead.
Morath made it 19-9 in the 71st minute after two second-half penalties, as France replacement Fabrice Estebanez was sin-binned, but a late try by Vincent Clerc made it safe for the 2007 tournament hosts.
Two-time world champions Australia clinched a quarterfinal place by beating Russia 68-22 in Nelson, but could lose Drew Mitchell for the rest of the competition.
The winger scored two of the Wallabies' 10 tries before suffering a suspected torn hamstring
Russia coach Nikolay Nerush stood down after a fourth successive defeat in the nation's first World Cup appearance, but can take some heart after his side scored three tries against a team who had conceded just one in three previous matches.
Ireland can regain top spot in Group C by beating third-placed Italy on Sunday, meaning Australia would play world champions South Africa in the last eight.
Italy can also go through with a victory which would eliminate the Irish depending on bonus points, and give Nick Mallett's team a clash against the Springboks side he once coached.
Wales and Fiji will battle for second place in Group D on Sunday, with the British side needing just one point to progress.