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Eddie Jones happy with England's attitude following Calcutta Cup victory

Published 06/02/2016

Eddie Jones' England reign got off to a winning start
Eddie Jones' England reign got off to a winning start

Eddie Jones praised his new England side for overcoming a tricky first test against Scotland as they opened his reign with a 15-9 win at Murrayfield.

The Australian has preached a back-to-basics approach since replacing Stuart Lancaster following last year's doomed World Cup campaign and there were signs of promise as England kicked-off their RBS 6 Nations bid by claiming the Calcutta Cup.

Victory was sealed thanks to tries from George Kruis and Jack Nowell - plus five points from kicker Owen Farrell - but only after they shook off the determined hosts.

Scotland were perhaps the better team as the first half closed but they trailed 7-6, and England stepped up a gear after the break by producing some more adventurous rugby to give Jones the start he was looking for.

"I was pleased with the attitude of the team," said the Australian. "We wanted to go out and play some positive rugby but we were a little bit off our game.

"The refereeing was difficult so it was never going to be a free-flowing game.

"We had to adjust but the way we did in the second half was terrific. It became a set-piece defence game but I thought we excelled in that. Our second-half performance was quite commanding."

England took the lead after a quarter of an hour when Kruis reached out to plant the ball on the line after number eight Billy Vunipola made a daring break off the back of a scrum.

Vunipola - who was later voted man of the match - was also involved in the second touchdown on 58 minutes as he popped a precision offload into Farrell before Nowell was released in the corner to score.

Now Jones insists the sky is the limit for the Saracens back-rower.

"He wasn't bad was he," said the coach with a smile. "I have read all the articles about him being too slow to play number eight. He's doing a pretty good job as a slow number eight.

"I thought he was outstanding with his carrying and defence work. He can be the best number eight in the world, I've no doubt about that."

England now head to Rome to face Italy next week and former Japan coach Jones admits he has enjoyed his Six Nations introduction.

"It was interesting coming in the bus with all the Scottish supporters coming out the pub," he said.

"When we got off the Scottish were going crazy. There was one little English boy with his beanie on outside the bus and for five minutes he yelled out, 'Come on England, come on England'.

"His voice was getting drowned out but he kept going and that was a little like the team today. We kept plugging away and, in the end, won the game easily."

The best Scotland could manage was three penalties from skipper Greig Laidlaw as they yet again suffered a hard luck story.

Expectation was high ahead of the match following their march to the last eight of the World Cup but they repeated their old pattern of working themselves into decent territory before letting opportunities slip with basic errors.

Tommy Seymour was guilty of one such mistake during the first half when he allowed Jonathan Joseph to steal possession with the whitewash in sight, while Finn Russell inexplicably kicked the ball out of play while clean through following the interval after snatching a Ben Youngs pass.

However, Dark Blues head coach Vern Cotter insists he can fix his side's problems.

"We probably weren't accurate enough," he confessed. "It is clear to see that, at times, we created opportunities enough to win the game. We just weren't accurate enough at keeping the ball.

"It was a frustrating game but the positive thing is we can put a lot of things right very quickly.

"As a team we can get so much better."

But Laidlaw believes his team-mates will have to face up to their mistakes if they are to improve before taking on Wales in Cardiff next Saturday, saying: "We have to learn quickly because this tournament is hard. We need to get back up and running. We can't feel sorry for ourselves.

"We had opportunities - the one with Tommy Seymour in the first half. If he holds that ball we probably recycle it and score out wide but we coughed it up. There was the one with Finn when he picked off the intercept but kicked it out.

"We've got to be brutal with each other this week and stop making these silly mistakes. We gave away some dumb penalties. All these little things add up."

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