Six Nations

Jones' England hold off spirited Scotland to retain Calcutta Cup

England made a winning start to the Eddie Jones era as tries from George Kruis and Jack Nowell saw them retain the Calcutta Cup with a 15-9 Six Nations victory over Scotland.

The visitors, playing their first game under Jones after the head coach was appointed following England's pool-stage exit at last year's home Rugby World Cup, were made to work hard by Scotland at Murrayfield.

But Vern Cotter's men were unable to take advantage of long periods of possession and territory, with Scotland restricted to three Greig Laidlaw penalties.

Instead it was England – led by controversial new captain Dylan Hartley – who were rewarded for their discipline and patience in a scrappy game, a try in each half ensuring Scotland's long wait for a Calcutta Cup win will extend into its ninth year.

George Ford spurned an early chance to take the lead when his drop-goal attempt flew wide in the 11th minute.

But three minutes later England did go ahead through Kruis, the lock barging his way over from close range following a well-executed set-piece from a scrum six metres away from the Scotland line.

Owen Farrell added the extras, but Scotland responded excellently, Laidlaw cutting the gap to four points in the 17th minute with a penalty from 41 metres out.

Laidlaw skewed a second three-point attempt wide after Ford was pinned for claiming a high ball and not releasing, only to then trim the deficit to one point with a penalty from in front of the posts late in the first half.

The hosts had a chance to finish the opening 40 minutes with a flourish as John Hardie burst towards the line following a kick for touch and a line-out.

However, the England defence stood firm and Finn Russell's eventual drop-goal attempt was well off target.

Farrell missed the mark with a penalty eight minutes after the restart, but helped England re-establish breathing room two minutes later.

The fly-half combined brilliantly with Mako Vunipola to feed wing Nowell to race over in the corner, although Farrell was unable to convert from out wide.

Farrell and Laidlaw traded penalties in the space of six minutes as Scotland kept within striking distance in the closing stages.

But they could not produce a dramatic late turnaround, England staying strong to seal the points, although Jones will know his team will need to make plenty of improvements in order to challenge for the title.


Key Opta Stats:

- Scotland have lost 12 of their last 13 Six Nations matches, including the last eight in a row.

- Scotland have failed to score a try in each of their last six home games against England in the Six Nations.

- Jack Nowell scored his eighth Test try; England have won all five matches Nowell has scored in.