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Six Nations: James Haskell isn't getting carried away with England

By Duncan Bech

Published 08/02/2016

Winner: England captain Dylan Hartley with the Calcutta Cup
Winner: England captain Dylan Hartley with the Calcutta Cup

James Haskell voiced his relief after England began rebuilding the ruins of last autumn's World Cup misery with a 15-9 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Eddie Jones' first match as head coach was a tricky hurdle to negotiate, but their RBS Six Nations was launched with a scrappy but effective win that keeps the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham for an eighth year.

There were few thrills and only one debutant in Jack Clifford, but a team containing 512 caps was picked with the sole purpose of departing Edinburgh with the result that offers the new regime breathing space.

Four months ago England crashed out of their home World Cup at the group stage and Haskell hopes a chastening period is over.

"It is always a relief when you come away from Murrayfield with a victory," the Wasps back row said. "I grew up watching teams come to Edinburgh and have Grand Slams and Six Nations titles ruined.

"Scotland are a massively improved team. They were unlucky not to be playing in the semi-final of the World Cup and we knew they were going to be dangerous.

"We believed we could win, but this is a very difficult place to come and you want to start the Six Nations in a good way.

"It has been a difficult time for English rugby. This is the first time we've played since the World Cup and it was important to get that victory.

"But we haven't done too much because it's such a long journey through the rest of the Six Nations."

England reacted to the demise of their World Cup dream after a mere 16 days by appointing a new coaching team led by Jones at a cost of over £1million.

Jones has had only two weeks to stamp his mark on the Six Nations favourites and among the discernible differences were the increased prominence of No.8 Billy Vunipola, who finished man of the match, and a willingness to adapt tactically.

"There was pressure on us to perform. Eddie has been very clear on what he wants," Haskell said. "We're not getting carried away - it's the first game, there is a lot of rugby to go and improvement to be made."

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