Eddie Jones sought to play down talk of a Scottish revival after their victory over Australia at the weekend, as he recalled a similar wave of optimism going into this year’s Six Nations Championship.
Scotland have beaten Australia twice and ran New Zealand close at BT Murrayfield under the stewardship of Gregor Townsend, with talk already turning to next February.
Former internationals Jeremy Guscott and Scott Hastings have suggested Scotland are genuine challengers for the Championship Trophy.
But England coach Jones reckons such talk is premature, and when asked if he viewed Townsend’s side as a genuine threat going into the tournament, told The Times: “I remember before we played them last year they were being talked up as the best team in Europe, so let’s just wait and see.”
Scotland had enjoyed a promising Autumn Test series at the tail end of 2016 under Vern Cotter, and went into the Six Nations tournament the following year full of hope and expectation.
An opening day win over Ireland at Murrayfield was followed up by a narrow loss to France in Paris, and a home victory over Wales before Cotter’s men travelled to London.
But England enjoyed a 61-21 win at Twickenham; the Scots’ misery compounded by the early loss of Stuart Hogg and Fraser Brown being sent to the sin bin.
Since Townsend took the reins in July, Scotland have played six, winning four and losing two. As well as back-to-back Hopetoun Cup wins over Australia in Sydney and Edinburgh, Townsend has led the Scots to wins over Italy and Samoa, losing to Fiji and New Zealand.