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Eddie Jones has accepted blame after Scotland posted its first win at Twickenham since 1983 by beating his error-strewn England team 11-6 in a dominant performance that shook the Six Nations rugby tournament on the opening day.
On the 150-year anniversary of the oldest international rugby fixture, Scotland outplayed their biggest rivals in every department, with the narrow margin not telling the story.
A first-half try by winger Duhan van der Merwe ultimately proved the difference but the contrast between the teams was stark in a one-sided match played in the rain in an empty stadium.
England barely got near the try line as Scotland enjoyed 70 per cent territory. Three missed goal kicks by Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, as well as some desperate English defence, kept the scoreline close.
Scotland’s players roared with delight when England winger Jonny May fumbled a kick deep in his own half for a knock-on four minutes before time.
That handling error went with a total of 15 penalties conceded by defending champions England, nine of them coming in the first 25 minutes.
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Scotland controlled much of the first half and got out to a 8-0 lead but they were only 8-6 at the break as a result of two Owen Farrell penalties.
But Scotland’s dominance continued in the second half as flyhalf Finn Russell returned from the sin bin to stretch the lead, while captain Stuart Hogg and debutant centre Cameron Redpath were on fire.
England coach Jones copped the loss on the chin.
“Firstly, congratulations to Scotland. They played very well,” the former Wallabies mentor told ITV.
“I thought they played with a lot of intent, a lot of spirit.
“We just had one of those days. I didn’t prepare the team well enough.
“We weren’t quite right, we were a long way off our best.”
Earlier on Saturday, France made the perfect start to their Six Nations title bid, scoring seven tries in a crushing 50-10 bonus point victory over a youthful Italy.
The visitors raced into a 21-point lead by half time after Antoine Dupont set up converted tries from Dylan Cretin, Gael Fickou and Arthur Vincent in Rome on Saturday.
The onslaught didn’t relent after the break as Brice Dulin and Dupont each crossed the whitewash, while Teddy Thomas scored tries either side of Luca Sperandio’s consolation effort to consign Italy to a 28th consecutive tournament defeat.
The huge victory further underlined the title-winning credentials of France, who finished as runners-up last year, while the inexperience of an Italian team featuring 11 players with fewer than ten caps was exposed.
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