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Jones: 'We left 15 points out there at least from our calculation'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Eddie Jones has suggested England should have been comfortable winners of last Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener in Edinburgh, claiming his team left at least 15 points behind them in the Murrayfield match they went on to lose 20-17 having led 17-10 with just over 15 minutes remaining. The Australian has copped heavy criticism in the aftermath of the defeat which was his team’s third consecutive round one loss in the championship in the last three years.

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England are now preparing to pick up the pieces when they play Italy away in Rome in round two of the tournament next Sunday and Jones is hoping his attack can be sharper to ensure there is no repeat of the chance-taking failures that left them vulnerable to Scotland’s perfectly-times ambush.  

“The thing we missed out on Saturday, we probably left 15 points out there at least from our calculation and if we were a bit sharper with that execution, a bit tidier around the breakdown we would have been able to convert those opportunities to points, so that is an easy thing to fix. 

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“We are attacking in a different way – well, we are trying to attack in a different way and we had a little bit of lack of cohesion in some of the areas and we will make sure we will tidy that up for this week.”

Jones was criticised for numerous decisions he made during the game, especially his choice to take off on-song out-half Marcus Smith with England ahead by seven points and looking set to take what would have been a good-value win before they imploded in the closing 15 minutes.

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“Look, I am the best coach in the world with hindsight,” he shrugged, dismissing his critics. “I have done a few TV commentaries and I was the smartest coach in the world. But I made a decision on game day, I don’t have any regrets, I don’t look back. I am looking forward to Italy. 

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“We’re disappointed by the result against Scotland, particularly given the (positive) way we played in the first 60 minutes of the game, but we have drawn a line in the sand on that and we have moved onto Italy and our aim is to make sure we light up Rome this week with a really good, energetic purposeful performance to build on what we did against Scotland.”

England will confirm their squad for next weekend later on Tuesday once a series of medicals and covid tests are complete but Jones confirmed Lewis Ludlam is out with a rib cartilage injury and has been replaced by Joe Launchbury, while Courtney Lawes is rated as less than a 50 per cent chance of being available.

“We have got a great opportunity on Sunday playing against Italy who put in a spirited performance on Sunday against France. It is our next opportunity. We know we have got to tidy up a few areas of our game that we didn’t get right against Scotland and like any young team it is not a linear progression. 

“We’d love it to be linear but you have your little ups and downs and we had a down against Scotland and now we have got to make sure we get an up against Italy on Sunday.”

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