Eddie Jones will oversee a forensic inquest into Saturday’s Calcutta Cup surrender to Scotland as England look to revive their Guinness Six Nations title defence against Italy.
Jones has revealed that his front row will be reinforced for the round-two fixture by the return of Kyle Sinckler from suspension and Mako Vunipola from an Achilles injury, but his immediate focus is on uncovering the reasons for a dire opener.
Scotland celebrated the 150th anniversary of rugby’s oldest rivalry by engineering their first victory at Twickenham since 1983 with the 11-6 scoreline failing to reflect their dominance.
Jones has accepted responsibility and will search for answers ahead of Italy’s visit to Twickenham knowing that England have now been replaced by France as Championship favourites.
“Coaching is about trying to find the edge, how you can do things a little bit better,” Jones said.
“We will be looking into everything, we will be forensic in our analysis of what we did in terms of preparing the team and trying to find ways to do it better.
“I didn’t do it well enough this week along with the coaching staff and we need to find a way to prepare the team better for next week.
“The preparation for the team is a shared responsibility between the players and the coaches. It’s neither one nor the other.
“We’ll definitely speak to the players, but that’s the normal course of action.”
The only aspect of the game where England were not outclassed was the scoreboard and top of Jones’ agenda will be finding out why they were unable to break Scotland’s stranglehold on the 139th meeting between the rivals.
But other flaws were exposed too, most notably an off-key performance from fly-half Owen Farrell and the spectator role played by the back line – even allowing for the lack of ball.
“We didn’t have any tactics because we couldn’t get the ball. You’ve got to have the ball to have some tactics,” Jones said.
“We will definitely do everything we can next week to make sure we are at our best.”
As a senior player, Saracens hooker Jamie George will play a leading role in the soul-searching this week, although he cautions that one loss does not reduce the Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup champions to a spent force.
Former England head coach Sir Clive Woodward has issued his former side a scathing rebuke in the wake of their shock defeat to Scotland on Saturday.https://t.co/Evg6Aybc7R
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 8, 2021
“Everyone is gutted, genuinely gutted. We know we weren’t there and everyone is going to be desperate to get things right,” George said.
“You can do a huge amount in a week, but what is required is a positive mindset from everyone within the group – a mentality that we want to come in and get better and are not going to dwell on the result.
“A big point is that we are restricted, because of Covid protocols, in terms of how much time we can spend together as a team, how much social capital we can build as a team. We need to find a way of doing that.
“But we’ll stick together through these bad times. One bad game doesn’t make a bad team. We’ll make sure that we bounce back.”
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