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Sunday Feb 7, 2016

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland

England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland
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Scotland were unable to continue their Rugby World Cup form as they were beaten 15-9 by England at Murrayfield. It was England’s seventh win in a row against Scotland. An early try by George Kruis, and a second half score by Jack Nowell put the game out of reach.

In a largely stoic affair, England were easily the more dominant side throughout the match, out-scoring the home side by two tries to nil to give new coach Eddie Jones his first win.

Scotland had several chances to get themselves back into the match; a Greig Laidlaw penalty miss was followed by an off-target Finn Russell drop goal attempt on the brink of half-time.

But it was the lack of Scotland’s precision in key zones that stopped them competing for the win. Twice in the first half and once at the start of the second, Vern Cotter’s men were closing to scoring. But careless handling errors which have typified a team on the fringes of success prevented them breaching an almost impenetrable English defensive line.

England on the other hand were clinical in attack and took both their scoring opportunities. Wingers Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson caused a myriad of issues for the Scots and the former crossed in the second half to effectively bury the game with a superb score.

But it was the pack, led from behind by Man of the Match Billy Vunipola that provided the platform for England’s control of the match; the set-piece being the source of innumerable penalties to further dent Scotland’s already diminishing morale.

The hosts had a chance late in the game but weren’t able to take it, leading coach Vern Cotter to state that they were a lot better than the final result suggests.

“They’re very disappointed players,” he said post match. “We created opportunities, we didn’t finish them off. But there’s a lot more to come from the team I think.

“They are disappointed with the way they let those opportunities pass by through lost balls and bits and pieces, but they’ll be quickly identified and we’ll put the frustrations behind us.

“We can’t do much about this one but we’ll certainly look to the next one. We can do better than that, we know we can. That game was there to be won.”

England Coach Jones meanwhile was at his entertaining best in the post-match press conference, claiming not only that he was convinced of victory during the week, but that his side could have scored more tries if they wanted to.

“There’s no bonus point in the 6 Nations. If there was, then we would have gone for four tries,” mused Jones. “But look, Calcutta Cup, two tries to nil and an easy win with no injuries. I think it’s been a pretty good week!

“I’ve no doubt in my mind that Billy [Vunipola] can be the best Number 8 in the world. I’ve read all the articles saying he’s too slow to play 8, but that was a pretty good game for a slow Number 8.”

England play Italy, who almost upset France, next Sunday in Rome as they look to continue their return to form following a disappointing World Cup, while Scotland face the daunting task of beating Wales in Cardiff for the first time since 2002 on Saturday.

19 Comments

  • gonzoman
    6:02 PM 10/02/2016

    I think Stroudos means competing for the ball after making the tackle. In my playing days (mostly on the wing and at 13) I won quite a few turnovers chasing up kicks or chasing down linebreaks...put in the hit, get to your feet faster than the other guy, and take the ball from him. It's unbelievable how much pressure that can apply (when chasing kicks) or relieve (when defending linebreaks).

    Reply
  • 45678
    4:26 PM 10/02/2016

    Not sure about wingers and fb. If a 13 makes a tackle and the winger rushes in to compete for the ball you could be very exposed on the short side of the ruck. Depends how good the rest of the defence is at reading play, but you are right the play is stretched and a turnover more likely

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:23 AM 10/02/2016

    Exactly! Should be a core skill for all positions. Your 7 physically cannot get to every breakdown so it doesn't make sense to rely on one single player for such an important job. Also I would actually include wings and full backs. When defending out wide, ball carriers are often less good at protecting the ball after tackle and are more likely to get isolated, so if you can get to the breakdown quickly enough turnovers are relatively easier to effect there.

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    7:37 PM 09/02/2016

    You know it Jimmy

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    7:34 PM 09/02/2016

    I don't think there would be much stock left if you worked in Greggs

    Reply
  • danknapp
    2:54 PM 09/02/2016

    If England are arrogant to the point where they think, 'we are going to win because we're England', then I think that's hugely unhelpful. That's arrogant. If it's a case of thinking 'I know I'm good enough to win' then I see that as being completely different. That's self-belief. I think for years we've been unfairly labelled as arrogant when in fact we simply believed that we could, and should, win at home, or against certain opposition. English fans will never be happy with a plucky loss away to the Welsh, unlike many Welsh fans if the positions were reversed. For me I think that's essential to a successful team - but alone it isn't enough. We mustn't mistake confidence and talking the talk with actually being world class.

    Reply
  • 45678
    12:29 PM 09/02/2016

    turnovers stats should include balls won / lost at the lineout, taking it against the head in scrums and knock-ons

    Reply
  • 45678
    12:24 PM 09/02/2016

    I think we're a little bit obsessed with 7s and turnovers. the best players at the breakdown in the last 10 years were o'driscoll, bismark du plessis and yes pocock. not all 7s the turnovers come from whoever is next into the breakdown after the tackler. we seem to have the mentality that this can only be a 7. we should be looking at when the breakdown happens (1st phase or after) where the breakdown occurs (fringes, channels or out wide) before we make an assumption that the 7 needs to turn the ball over. the number on your back is only relevant at 1st phase you rarely see turnovers in the first few phases when teams play within structure. turnovers are much more likely when the game opens up, is more off the cuff and when players get isolated englands best fetcher at present is dan cole. this is fine, but we need at least 2 more players in any position that are good over the ball (not including wingers and fb)

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    12:18 PM 09/02/2016

    Now I'm not normally a fan of over-analysis, however, this article has a look at some of the finer details of England's game and actually manages to make it interesting as well as informative. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/england/12144734/Scotland-9-England-15-Five-early-hallmarks-of-the-Eddie-Jones-era-after-Six-Nations-victory-in-Calcutta-Cup-clash.html The reason I bring this up is because it look at the incident where Robshaw shouts "turnover".

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:19 AM 09/02/2016

    Is that how it works then? You just stand next to the ruck and shout "turnover"? Seems I've been labouring under a misapprehension! All that effort for nothing. Maybe I could get a Greggs apron and sell a few to the front row boys while I'm there- sort of kill two birds with one stone. "Turnovers, turnovers, 50p for three"

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:15 AM 09/02/2016

    Yes Dan, but in reality which comes first? Sel-belief goes a long way to getting you psyched up to do the winning which actually leads to justifiable arrogance. Generally speaking I loathe arrogance, but in elite sport I reckon it's a necessary evil and a key ingredient of a winning mindset.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    8:07 PM 08/02/2016

    I'm not sure I'd call England "clinical in attack". They didn't do a whole lot of attacking, and really only the Nowell try counted as a clinical finish. But it was a disciplined performance (fancy that, after all the harrumphing about Hartley's appointment), and I sort of feel that it was just what Eddie Jones wanted in terms of his key message to the players. That if England play the way he wants them to, they're going to win. But he clearly also wants to see more against Italy, be interesting to see what he gets.

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    7:05 PM 08/02/2016

    As a professional armchair coach I would like to offer my opinion that George Ford (and all of the Bath players - including the Scottish ones) appear to be in a real ditch regarding form and confidence. Pretty surprised Farrell wasn't given the opportunity to bring his Saracens form to the 10 shirt. But then i suppose lack of an experienced distributer / kicker at 12 is the real problem.

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    7:00 PM 08/02/2016

    I don't know how these stats are measured, but i remember one instance where Robshaw shouted 'turnover' at a breakdown and in conjunction with someone else did force the penalty. But maybe that goes down as shared. Quite the variety of nationalities on show in this game as well you notice.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    5:59 PM 08/02/2016

    Arrogance needs to be earned. We've done nothing to earn it for years. I like the self-belief, but we're not going to shake off the arrogance label any time soon!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:29 PM 08/02/2016

    The only stats I can find show turnovers conceded by each player, but not turnovers won. http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/matchstats?gameId=254975&league=254969 From watching the game I can't specifically recall Haskell or Robshaw making the turnovers but they must have been involved, certainly both looked pretty busy to me. Those two and Kruis seemed to be getting through the most work. I can tell you that Scotland collectively conceded 16 turnovers, compared with England's 6. Haskell led the tackle count with 18, followed by Kruis on 16. (Jonny Gray, Hardie & Denton next). Generally speaking, I agree with your last sentence.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:07 PM 08/02/2016

    Messieurs Colombes and Vingt-Trois, I think you've both touched on an important point with your comments on Eddie Jones, which I summarise as he brings a much-needed sense of confidence and self-belief to England. His comments quoted by RD - easy win, would have got more tries if we could be bothered - are arrogant in the extreme and you could never imagine Stuart Lancaster even thinking about making such immodest claims. But as an England fan I love it. England rugby is at its best when it is cocky, swaggering and full of itself. Look at the Grand Slam eras - early 90s personified by Brian Moore invoking Millwall FC: "no-one likes us, we don't care" and early 2000s by Martin Johnson telling the Ireland president to walk through the mud. I remember reading comments on several different occasions from Imanol Hairydonkey saying how much he hated England because they were arrogant and how desperate he want to get one over them. England won almost every match during that period of time, if I remember correctly. I don't want to see arrogance from England fans - that's just embarrassing - and in that sense I may need to rein myself in a bit here! But the kind of players I think offer the kind of swagger I'm talking about are those like Hartley, Haskell and Farrell. I really think England need players with this type of mentality and for all Lancaster's "pride in the shirt" culture stuff, I think Eddie Jones will bring back a culture of self-belief and, yes, arrogance, on which successful England rugby teams thrive.

    Reply
  • colombes
    12:07 PM 08/02/2016

    More surprised by Scotland lack of solutions than England moving forward thanks to their forwards. I understand Eddie Jones "only win counts". This english side certainly needs more self-belief than rugby basics lessons now, Hartley's choice being a first sign. Time will say if his punchlines work on this group. Did he really asked if Italy had a "panini cup" as England-Italy reward..?

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    10:25 AM 08/02/2016

    Well, that wasn't exactly the most inspiring of wins. But considering it's a completely new coaching set up coming off the back of the disaster that was the world cup and they've only been together for two weeks, I suppose one can't expect fireworks from the offset. The main difference here is that when the classic line; "we need to improve" gets dropped, I actually feel that will happen with Eddie Jones at the helm. Looking forward to see how the rest of the tournament goes.

    Reply


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England maintain Calcutta Cup winning streak with victory over Scotland | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos