Jones identifies “easy” fixes and urges England to light up Rome

Eddie Jones 5/2/2022
Eddie Jones wants England to light up Rome after drawing a line in the sand following their Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations.

Eddie Jones wants England to light up Rome after drawing a line in the sand following their Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations.

England slipped to back-to-back defeats to Scotland for the first time since 1983-84 on Saturday as Gregor Townsend’s men came from behind to win 20-17 in Edinburgh.

With hopes of a first Grand Slam since 2016 already over, England must now turn their focus to winning their remaining matches to stand a chance of repeating their 2020 triumph.

And while Jones admitted it was an opportunity missed for his side at BT Murrayfield, he believes the fixes they need to make are straightforward, ahead of their trip to Italy in Round 2.

“We probably left 15 points out there, at least from our calculation,” said Jones.

“If we were sharper with our execution and a bit tidier around the breakdown, we would have been able to convert those opportunities into points. That’s an easy thing to fix.

“We are attacking in a different way, or trying to attack in a different way. We had a little bit of a lack of cohesion in some areas. We will make sure we tidy those up.

“But we’ve drawn a line in the sand for Italy and our aim is to make sure we light up Rome with a really good, energetic and purposeful performance to build on what we did against Scotland.

“We know that we have to tidy up a few areas of our game that we didn’t get right against Scotland. Like any young team, it’s not a linear progression.

“We’d love it to be linear but you have your ups and downs and we had a down against Scotland. Now we’ve got to make sure we get an up against Italy on Sunday.”

England trailed their hosts 10-6 at the half-time break of their Guinness Six Nations curtain-raiser despite the dominating territory and possession at BT Murrayfield.

Marcus Smith kicked the first points before Scotland debutant Ben White – on as an HIA replacement for Ali Price – scored the game’s first try on 17 minutes.

The conversion from Finn Russell and another penalty helped the home side remain in front at the interval as Smith landed another three-pointer of his own to keep England in touch.

Another two penalties from 22-year-old Smith either side of a try on his Guinness Six Nations debut put England back ahead with less than 20 minutes left on the clock.

But a penalty try for Scotland and a yellow card for England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie turned the game, with Russell stepping up to boot a winning penalty eight minutes from time.

Jones removed fly-half star Smith – who scored all of his side’s points – with England 17-10 up and despite some questioning the decision, the England head coach insisted he has no regrets.

“I’m the best coach in the world with hindsight,” he added.

“I’ve done a few TV commentaries and I was the smartest coach in the world. But I made a decision on game day and I don’t have any regrets. I’m looking forward to Italy now.”