England have been crowned 2016 RBS 6 Nations champions with a round to spare after Scotland defeated France 29-18 at Murrayfield. Here, we examine how the title was won.
Scotland 9 England 15, Murrayfield
The first match of Eddie Jones’ reign opened with a solid but unspectacular victory in Edinburgh that had ample potential for the seemingly reborn Scots to spring an ambush. It never materialised, however, with George Kruis and Jack Nowell crossing for tries. The result was everything in Jones’ first match in charge and the team duly delivered.
Italy 9 England 40, Stadio Olimpico
Jones urged England to give Italy a “good hiding” and that is exactly what transpired in Rome when a spirited first-half onslaught from the underdogs, who trailed only 11-9 at the interval, turned into a rout with Jonathan Joseph running in a hat-trick of tries. Perhaps the most important footnote of the match, however, was the Test debut of rising star Maro Itoje.
England 21 Ireland 10, Twickenham
After a kind start to Jones’ debut Six Nations, the first real test arrived. Ireland may have been stricken by injury but the reigning champions remained dangerous opponents. England pulled clear in the second half with tries from Anthony Watson and Mike Brown, but possibly the most memorable moment of the afternoon was Nowell’s exhilarating try-saving tackle on Robbie Henshaw.
England 25 Wales 21, Twickenham
England delivered their best performance when it mattered most, establishing scarcely believable leads of 19-0 and 25-7 founded on the flawless goal-kicking of Owen Farrell. Their World Cup demons surfaced in the final six minutes, however, when rapid tries from Wales threatened an unlikely fightback and it took a crucial tackle from Manu Tuilagi on George North to keep Warren Gatland’s men out at the death.