Eddie Jones urges ‘focus’ after highlighting what was missing in England loss to Scotland

The Red Rose face Italy this weekend looking to get their title defence back on track

Duncan Bech
Thursday 11 February 2021 08:56
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Eddie Jones is looking for England to rebound against Italy
Eddie Jones is looking for England to rebound against Italy

Eddie Jones has emphasised England's need to "focus" and get back "on the front foot" after their 11-6 defeat to Scotland to start their Guinness Six Nations title defence.

Scotland ground out victory last weekend to register their first win at Twickenham since 1983, forcing Owen Farrell's team to rebuild against Italy on Saturday.

Jones has meticulously analysed the Calcutta Cup defeat and is eager to put things right against the Azzurri in London in round two.

"We just felt that we held back a little bit and we weren't our usual vibrant selves," head coach Jones said.

READ MORE: Scotland explain not taking a knee for anti-racism message against England

"We're really making sure that we focus on ourselves this week and get playing the sort of rugby we'd like to play, which is getting on the front foot and keeping the opposition on the back foot.

"We're just disappointed we didn't improve from the French game (in the Autumn Nations Cup). We're always looking to improve. As I said, I take responsibility for the performance.

"Sometimes you don't give the players exactly the right information and we didn't play the way we wanted to. We're on to the Italy game now."

Among the areas of external scrutiny has been the performance of fly-half Farrell, with his place in the team now being questioned for the first time since making his debut in 2012.

Jones' initial response post-match was to say England lacked the possession to launch any meaningful attack, but footage shows the Saracen neglecting overlaps in the second-half, instead opting to kick.

READ MORE: Scotland deliver invention and maturity against England to emerge as Six Nations contenders

In defence of his captain, Jones said: "There are five million situations in the game and we don't coach five million situations.

"Once we get on the field the players make all the decisions and that's always been the case, but the responsibility to prepare them for the game is the head coach's and therefore I didn't give them the right information."

England have added props Kyle Sinckler and Mako Vunipola to their 28-man squad at the expense of Harry Williams and Tom West.

Sinckler missed the Calcutta Cup debacle due to serving a ban for swearing at a referee, while Vunipola has been out since November with an Achilles injury. Vunipola has fully recovered and will face Italy.

"They're both exceptional players. Mako is the elder statesman of the side, an experienced player," Jones said.

"He's been training really well. He's got a lot of conditioning in him and we feel that he'll be available for selection.

"Kyle was dynamic for us during the autumn. It's good to have those two back."

PA

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