Six Nations: Eddie Jones admits Scotland deserved to beat England and has say on Luke Cowan-Dickie and Marcus Smith change
England head coach Eddie Jones admitted “massive disappointment” after watching his team lose 20-17 to Scotland at BT Murrayfield, but refused to single out Luke Cowan-Dickie for criticism despite his hooker conceding a penalty try.
Cowan-Dickie was sin-binned after deliberately putting the ball into touch and denying Scotland winger Darcy Graham a try-scoring opportunity, a moment that changed the course of the match as Scotland went on to recover from a 17-10 deficit, with England in control of the match.
"We are massively disappointed we lost and Scotland deserved to win,” said Jones, “but we dominated a lot of the game but didn’t get the points out of the domination. At the end of the day rugby is a pretty simple game, if you dominate you have to get points and you have to get enough to be in front of the opposition at the end. We have only got ourselves to blame.“It was three points at the end and the referee becomes pretty influential in those situations. The result is the result and it is tough for us to start the tournament like that. We had a good preparation and played with a lot of drive and determination. We will go to Italy next week and be even better.
On Cowan-Dickie, Jones continued: “He is disappointed, that happens in the moment. He played exceptionally well and he is very disappointed but all the boys are supporting him.”
England paid the price in the aftermath of Cowan-Dickie’s yellow card by not bringing on a replacement hooker immediately. They lost a line-out and then conceded a penalty, which Finn Russell converted to take the score to 20-17.
Jones took the responsibility for the call, saying: “We thought we could wait for a scrum so we could keep the backrowers on. Scotland were moving us around a lot so we thought we needed that third back rower but I take the blame for that."
The head coach also explained why he replaced fly-half Marcus Smith, who scored all of England’s points, shortly after his try. “It is a 23 man squad and we thought George [Ford] could come on and do a job for us the last 20 minutes,” Jones said.
He continued: “I think we kicked well, we forced a number of line drop outs, we got held over the line. Could we be a bit more clinical in our attack, yes but we will do that in the future.
“For a young team I thought we fought really well, we just didn’t get the result. In the last game against South Africa we got the penalty at the end, they got the penalty at the end this time. That is the tightness of Test rugby.”
England captain Tom Curry was also left deflated by the defeat, saying: “It was up and down. First half, we put ourselves in a good position but in the second half discipline cost us.
"We can't rely on one moment in the game. We need to react and be better ourselves."
England have a chance to put things right when they travel to Rome to face Italy on matchday two next weekend.
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