Edinburgh - Tries by lock George Kruis and wing Jack Nowell gave England a
hard-earned 15-9 Six Nations victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on
Saturday in coach Eddie Jones's first match in charge.
It was not
exactly a flying start to a new era for Jones and his team but, after
the ignominy of England becoming the first host nation to exit a World
Cup before the knock-out stages, a sixth successive Calcutta Cup victory
against Scotland qualified as a solid first step.
For the Scots,
having come within a whisker of reaching the last four at the World Cup,
the result and the performance came as a disappointment.
Kiwi head coach Vern Cotter is still waiting for his first win in the
Six Nations, Scotland having suffered a whitewash in his maiden season
Equally depressingly, the Scots drew a sixth successive Murrayfield blank on the try scoring front against England.
Not since a Simon Danielli score back in 2004 have they crossed the England whitewash at Murrayfield.
All they managed on Saturday were three penalties by their captain Greig Laidlaw.
"It's a good start but not the prettiest performance," said new England skipper Dylan Hartley.
"It was physical and we're happy to get that one out the way."
Laidlaw said the Scots made it easy for England.
coughed up a few balls and lost some lineouts. It's disappointing
because we've been working on concentrating for 80 minutes and we made
it easy for England in the second half," he said.
England were on the front foot from the off, spending the opening stages deep in home territory.
Scottish defence held firm, though, and they breathed a sigh of relief
when England flyhalf George Ford pushed wide a drop goal attempt in the
It proved to be a temporary reprieve. English
pressure told in the 14th minute, Harlequins lock Kruis barging through
three defenders to score his first international try from an attacking
Owen Farrell added the conversion to furnish England with a
7-0 lead but Laidlaw nailed his first penalty attempt to peg the gap to
7-3 in the 17th minute.
Laidlaw had a chance to cut the deficit
to a single point in the 29th minute when Ford was penalised for not
releasing in the tackle but this time the scrumhalf pulled his kick
wide of the posts.
Still, after a powerful Scottish scrum, England
lock Joe Launchbury was penalised for holding on to the ball at the
bottom of a ruck and Laidlaw made amends with his second penalty success
in the 38th minute,
The Scots might even have led at half-time
but, after fine work by flank John Hardie, flyhalf Finn Russell was
off the mark with a drop goal attempt.
As it was, England turned round with a 7-6 advantage.
They had to withstand some early pressure after the interval but steadily asserted their authority.
missed a penalty attempt but in the 51st minute the inside centre fed
Nowell into the right corner for England's second try - thanks to a
deft pass from replacement prop Mako Vunipola.
It was the Exeter wing's eighth try in eleven matches for England.
was off the mark with the conversion but England led 12-6. Farrell
stretched the lead to 15-6 with his first penalty success in the 63rd
Laidlaw reduced the gap with a penalty in the 69th minute
but that was scant consolation for the Scots, who blooded 20-year-old
Glasgow prop Zander Fagerson as 69th minute replacement - their
youngest prop since Bill Black in 1948.
Scotland face Wales next in Cardiff on Saturday, February 13.
England, who gave a debut off the bench to Harlequins back rower Jack Clifford, face Italy in Rome a day later.