Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match Sam Underhill singled out the togetherness of England’s squad after they overcame testing conditions to beat Scotland 13-6 in Edinburgh.
The Red Rose had fallen to a 24-17 defeat against France in their Championship opener last time out, and with Owen Farrell’s early penalty providing the only points of the first half, there was plenty to play for in the second 40 at BT Murrayfield.
But after Adam Hastings had drawn the hosts level, Ellis Genge powered over for the match’s only try to seal victory before Farrell and Hastings traded further penalties late on.
Underhill was at the centre of an enthralling battle in the Scottish capital, winning one turnover, contributing 16 tackles and making 14 metres with the ball.
And following the win, the 23-year-old insisted he was delighted with how the whole squad regrouped following their disappointment in Paris.
“I’m proud of the effort today and delighted to be on the right side of the scoreboard,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t the prettiest game in the world – I think it came down to work rate and game management and thankfully it went our way.
“It was tough out there. The kicking game was important, and I don’t think you can fault the work rate from anyone out on the pitch.
“The kick-chase, the territory and where you’re playing the rugby was all very important today, and luckily we did enough to get over the line.”
With Billy Vunipola sidelined with a broken arm, Underhill has been impressed with how fellow back-rower Tom Curry has adapted to playing at No.8, with the 21-year-old proving another key performer in the win against Scotland.
And with the test of Ireland next up in the Guinness Six Nations, the Bath star is confident the Sale Sharks man could prove pivotal to keeping England’s title aspirations alive.
He said: “I think Tom’s been brilliant. The way he’s gone about his business in terms of changing position has been awesome and I’m really happy for him.
“He’s definitely a guy you want on your team out there on the pitch, especially on a day like today when there are so many mini battles out there to try and win.”