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Five lessons England must learn

England face Italy in round two of the RBS 6 Nations after launching the Eddie Jones era with a 15-9 victory over Scotland. Here Press Association examines five concerns ahead of Sunday's trip to Rome.


While the likes of New Zealand and Australia have taken their breakdown expertise to a new level, England are still struggling to impose themselves in this critical area. Australia great George Smith has been brought in to offer guidance, but this is clearly going to be a long-term project that requires extensive work on technique and decision-making.


Jones looks set to keep changes to a minimum, but bringing in Mako Vunipola for Joe Marler would be a step forward on the evidence of Murrayfield. England's scrum improved upon Vunipola's arrival and the Saracens loosehead prop also produced a superb offload to help set up Jack Nowell's try. Jones must also be tempted to start Jack Clifford in Rome as the Red Rose back row is still lacking a natural openside.


George Ford's confidence took a hit when he was dropped midway through the World Cup and has yet to recover. Against Scotland he was uncertain and lacking in authority, although the conservative tactics used in the second half hardly played to his strengths. Jones, who rates Ford highly, must decide whether he will benefit from a continued show of faith or if Owen Farrell currently offers a better solution.


Another recurring failing apparent since the 2003 World Cup-winning team is the lack of fluency in attack from the back line. A bold start to the Murrayfield showdown was a statement of intent from Jones, but the ambition was shelved when it was evident England were unable to match their ambition with accuracy. Jones is overseeing this department of the game himself and, knowing it is hardest element to get right, he will need patience.


England's ability to concede brainless penalties was a constant theme during the World Cup and the shortcoming was evident in Edinburgh. Two given away by prop Dan Cole for entering from the side were typical of the type of error Jones must rectify.


From Belfast Telegraph