England head coach Eddie Jones paid tribute to a well-drilled Scotland side after watching his team lose a Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham for the first time in 38 years.
Duhan van der Merwe scored the only try of the game in the first half as Gregor Townsend’s men ran out 11-6 winners against an England side who were limited to two Owen Farrell penalties across the 80 minutes.
The defending champions now face an uphill battle to retain their Guinness Six Nations title but Jones shouldered responsibility for England’s below-par display and offered no excuses.
“We couldn’t find a way to get in the game,” he said. “On a day like that, the set piece is always going to be important – as are the contests in the air and the gain line.
Report: Scotland secure historic Twickenham victory
“We couldn’t win any of those areas and seemed to be a yard off the pace. I have to blame myself – I didn’t prepare them well enough.
“Scotland played very well. They had a game plan they stuck to and executed it really well.
“They had enormous possession in the first half and a big penalty count. We can only blame ourselves for that. Congratulations to Scotland, they were too good for us today.”
England found possession and territory hard to come by at Twickenham as they struggled to assert their usual authority on proceedings.
Farrell: Slow start cost England
The hosts’ backline saw little of the ball – inside centre Ollie Lawrence was limited to a solitary carry – and Jones admitted the lack of a platform held his team back.
“In the first half, I think we had 25% possession,” he said. “I haven’t seen the second half stats but it won’t be much higher than that.
“If you’ve only got 25% possession, and some of that is deep in your 22, if you’ve got numbers 10-15 on your back it’s difficult to get the ball.
“It was a traditional England-Scotland game – it was about set piece, winning the small battles around the gain line, winning the ball in the air, and we were second best in all those aspects. The backs in those situations become almost secondary unfortunately.”
Jones will now look to rally his troops ahead of the visit of Italy to Twickenham next weekend, a match which now takes on an extra significance as the Red Rose look to get back on track.
“You never atone for a game like this, it stays with you for a long time,” he said.
“The most important thing is that we get together and find a way to improve our performance and play like England does against Italy next week.
“We’ll start working on Italy preparation tomorrow. We’ve got to put this game behind us and get on with it.”
England skipper Owen Farrell was also keen to give credit to the victors but believes the defeat will galvanise his side as they look to bounce back.
“(We were) not good enough today but full credit to Scotland,” he said. “They put us under a lot of pressure early on and managed to get in front.
“It’s very disappointing to come out this side of the result but I think this will light a fire in us going forward into the rest of the tournament.
“We can’t just wait to see what happens, we have to make it happen. I’m sure most of the boys feel the same.
“We will obviously look at the game and the areas where we can improve – there are some pretty obvious ones – and we will look forward to doing that.
“We have to use the feeling we’ve got now in the changing room and make sure we use it to our advantage.”