England rue errors and lack of cohesion against Scotland - 'we need to learn fast'

George vows to take lessons from Scotland defeat as Borthwick admits disappointment

England lamented the number of errors they made at Murrayfield and a lack of composure after they went down to Scotland for the fourth time in a row.

After a bright start to the Calcutta Cup clash, with George Furbank opening the scoring with an early try, England became ragged and coughed up too many mistakes, going down 30-21 – their first defeat of this year’s Six Nations championship.

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"When you make that number of handling errors at this level, it's very difficult to win, especially against a team of Scotland's quality,” said England head coach Steve Borthwick. “Ultimately we made it too easy for Scotland to score but they were very clinical. It's a huge lesson for our team as we grow. The number of turnovers made it very difficult to win. After a defeat and performance when you don't think you've maximised your potential, it's always disappointment. I don't think the team maximised their potential today."

England's Jamie George (right) and Henry Slade appear dejected following defeat by Scotland.England's Jamie George (right) and Henry Slade appear dejected following defeat by Scotland.
England's Jamie George (right) and Henry Slade appear dejected following defeat by Scotland.

Captain Jamie George echoed Borthwick’s sentiments. “The foundations were good but as players we need to execute the gameplan better,” he said. “We knew it would be difficult coming up here, the history that goes into the game. We weren't good enough today but hopefully the fans saw in the first 20 minutes a blueprint for how we want to play as a team. Now it's about our ability to do it for 80 minutes.

"We needed more composure on the back of turnovers. That was frustrating. We can fix that over the next couple of weeks. There will be things that we look back on and go, 'that's what we need English rugby to be about'. We saw a lot of that in the first 20 but I didn't see it in the second 20 and the contrast will be pretty clear when we look back at it. We're a young team excited to learn – and we need to learn fast."

Much has been made of England’s rebuild under Borthwick and while making the last four of the World Cup and starting the Six Nations with two narrow wins over Italy and Wales had bred optimism, Borthwick admitted there was always going to be bumps in the road.

"We'd all love progression to be a nice linear path but ultimately it's not, especially when you are trying to do it at this level,” he said. “What you saw is a team that is trying to develop, a team that is trying to add layers to their game. We made errors today and got punished – sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don't. Against a team like Scotland, you don't. It's a very painful lesson. They had a lot of experience – I think that's the first time our 10,12,13 had started together and it looked like that, didn't it? There was a lack of cohesion and too many fundamental errors.”

Ireland are England’s next opponents at Twickenham on Saturday, March 9.