Eddie Jones rued mental flaws in an England side which “got out of jail” in a 38-38 draw with Scotland.
The hosts raced into a 31-0 lead but England imploded and Scotland led 38-31 into added time, on the cusp of a first Twickenham success since 1983 before George Ford crossed and converted his own try for a 38-38 draw.
“It was 100 per cent mental. There’s no physical difference out there at all,” Jones said of his side’s final competitive game before the World Cup in Japan.
“It’s a bit of a recurring theme for us. We’ve experienced this at least three times in 12 months, where we’ve taken control of a game, let our foot off the gas and then been unable to get control of it back.
“Our first half there was some exceptional rugby. We should have been ahead by a lot more.
“We came in at half-time determined to play a bit tighter and with a bit more discipline, but we failed to do that. It’s a great lesson for us. I thought our finishers [replacements] did exceptionally well to get us out of jail at the end.”
England’s only loss came in Cardiff, where a similar collapse proved costly as Jones’ men ultimately finished second in the Six Nations Championship.
Jones added: “It’s never one thing. It’s always a combination of things. Just lacking that discipline to do the simple things over and over again. We got seduced by the scoreboard. And sometimes it can be one player that does it and then it becomes infectious. There’s not one area we need to fix, apart from our ability just to be able to regain ourselves. If you look at our tournament, apart from a poor 30 against Wales and a poor 40 against Scotland, we’ve had a pretty good tournament.”
Jones clung to the positives of experiencing the setback now, rather than in Japan.
He added: “We’re all disappointed, players, coaches, we’re all disappointed. But it’s a lesson. And the hardest lessons are the best lessons. And you want these sorts of lessons before you go to the World Cup.”