Loss 'not the end of the world'

Huw Jones scoring Scotland's first try against England at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday. The Scots' three tries in the first half were all the more remarkable as it was 14 years since they had last crossed England's try-line.
Huw Jones scoring Scotland's first try against England at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday. The Scots' three tries in the first half were all the more remarkable as it was 14 years since they had last crossed England's try-line.PHOTO: REUTERS

Coach Jones says England will learn the 'best lessons' from only their 2nd defeat in 26 Tests

EDINBURGH • England coach Eddie Jones is confident Saturday's stunning 25-13 defeat by Scotland will provide his Six Nations champions with the "best lessons in the world".

Scotland threw this season's title race wide open with their first win over their oldest rivals in a decade.

The first half saw Scotland score three tries - a tally made all the more remarkable given it was 14 years since they had last crossed England's try-line in a Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield.

Huw Jones went over for two tries and Sean Maitland also touched down, with impressive fly-half Finn Russell orchestrating all three tries before Scotland closed out the match.

This was just England's second defeat in 26 Tests under Jones, whose grand aim is to win next year's World Cup in Japan.

But the defeat raised some major questions over England's ability to dethrone the All Blacks, with Jones' men conceding a costly 13 penalties as they were overrun by a ferocious Scotland at the breakdown.

"These lessons you don't want to have, but they are the best lessons in the world," said Eddie Jones.

"We will learn a lot from this.We weren't there in the first half and I take responsibility for it."

The former Australia and Japan coach added: "It is not the end of the world - the end of the world might come when the Beast From the East comes."

For Russell, it was vindication after being criticised for some sub-par performances and his attitude.

The 25-year-old fly-half said: "Last week, we won and some people said I wasn't so good and, against Wales, the whole team got a slating. That's the job we're in. You've got to accept the highs and the lows."

No member of this Scotland team had ever been on the winning side against England and Russell, who is set to join Paris club Racing 92 at the end of the season, added: "It's not quite settled in yet. "It's an experience I've never had and a feeling I've never had."

England will look to revive their title bid away to France on March 10 and Jones insisted: "Regardless of the result, you look at things you haven't done well and you prepare the team for the next game.

"The loss hurts, with a win you get a good feeling. There is one happy team here, one dressing room singing songs and the other one is kicking stones and we are the ones kicking stones."

Both camps played down reports which emerged before kick-off of a fracas in the tunnel between England's Owen Farrell and Scotland's Ryan Wilson following the pre-match warm-up.

"It is the biggest win from a coaching perspective," said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend.

"Our defence was outstanding in both games but, tonight, we finished off our opportunities."

Next up for Scotland is a match away to Ireland, who maintained their perfect Six Nations start on Saturday in a frantic 37-27 victory over Wales that put them on track for a potential Grand Slam.

It is eight years since Scotland won a Six Nations game on the road anywhere other than Rome - a 23-20 victory against Ireland in Dublin.

But having ended one unwanted record against England, Townsend challenged his side to snap another.

"We have issues away from home," he said.

"We have to show a truer picture of what we are about when we are away."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2018, with the headline 'Loss 'not the end of the world''. Print Edition | Subscribe