Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio led the condemnation of a “clueless” 11-6 defeat by Scotland as Eddie Jones’ champions launched their title defence in dire fashion.
The magnificent Scots orchestrated their first victory at Twickenham since 1983 to reclaim the Calcutta Cup through a dominant performance that was blunted only by their failure to score more points.
Dallaglio, who won 85 caps from 1995 to 2007, was scathing in his assessment as the Calcutta Cup was taken back to Edinburgh on the 150th anniversary of international rugby’s oldest fixture.
“England looked clueless. Not just for parts of it, all game,” Dallaglio said in his column for the Sunday Times.
“Whatever the cause, it’s got to be sorted out quickly because that was as bad as it gets. This is not me being overcritical. It was there for everyone to see.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for these England players but you’ve got to keep earning respect and they didn’t do that in this game.
“The players need to take a very long, hard look at themselves and come up with some answers. I thought England didn’t fire a shot.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 7, 2021
“I felt there was a mindset problem. England hadn’t anything like the same energy and hunger that Scotland had.
“Of course the team were without a number of key performers but that’s no excuse for an abject performance.”
England’s most capped full-back Mike Brown was damning of the attacking failings – a recurring fault of Jones’ team since the autumn.
Brown, a favourite of the Australian head coach until the end of his Test career in 2018, called for captain Owen Farrell to be dropped at fly-half in an attempt to ignite the 2019 World Cup runners-up.
“Eddie Jones talks about giving the English rugby public something to smile about in the current climate but people can’t be enjoying this England,” Brown said in the Mail on Sunday.
"You never atone for a game like this, this stays with you for a long time"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 6, 2021
“Next weekend could be time for a change and I would put Owen Farrell on the bench and start with George Ford against Italy on Saturday.
“Compared to his usual high standards Farrell was poor at Twickenham, with England wasting four-man overlaps and kicking the ball away.
“Enough is enough now and I would give Ford a chance to show how he can lead the backs.
“I would rather see England get some of their dangerous players into the match and give them a chance to express themselves – I don’t enjoy watching kick-chase all the time and I am sure people at home don’t either.”
Sir Clive Woodward, the mastermind of England’s 2003 World Cup triumph, also pulled no punches.
“The score flattered England, it was nowhere near that close. Make no mistake, this was a huge setback for Eddie Jones and the squad,” Woodward said in the Mail on Sunday.
“The team selected was fine – I really liked the look of the team actually – but their game plan and execution was very poor.
“Owen Farrell was in a state of shock during the post-match interviews. If we are brutally honest England scarcely fired a shot.”
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