Eddie Jones will hold an inquest into England’s Calcutta Cup defeat on Saturday but has also called for perspective on only the second loss of his reign.
Scotland surged to a 25-13 victory at Murrayfield to revive their NatWest 6 Nations title quest, although Ireland are now the clear favourites to snatch the crown from Twickenham.
Two tries from Huw Jones and a superb third by Sean Maitland ended a decade-long wait for success in the fixture as England were blown away at the breakdown, overrun in defence and battered in the collisions.
Jones will examine the fault lines when the squad gathers in Oxford for training this week, but he refuses to view the champions’ fading control of the 2018 Six Nations as anything other than a temporary setback.
“We lacked intensity and we’ve got to find out why. We got beaten at the breakdown and we’ve got to find out why. We lacked proper spacing in defence and we’ve got to find out why,” said Jones.
“We allowed the game to disappoint us at times and there are some good lessons. We are trying to develop a strong team but the occasion was too big for us. Scotland were too good for us.
“I thought we were ready to play but we weren’t. Scotland contested the breakdown well and read the referee well. Full credit to them.
“You can start to find shadows in the corners.
“Once you get into the situation we got into, it puts pressure on you and we probably didn’t execute as well as we can.
“But I’m not going to go down the track of saying everything is wrong because everything is not wrong.”
England swaggered into Murrayfield emboldened by a run of 24 wins from 25 Tests but were caught cold by Scotland’s intensity and ambition with World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson blaming complacency.
Chris Robshaw, who fought manfully while the dam burst around him, insists the passion of a Calcutta Cup clash in Edinburgh had been discussed even if during the week players had repeatedly dismissed past encounters as irrelevant.
“We spoke among ourselves in the week about what an exciting and hostile place Murrayfield could be and how it’s great for them if they got their noses in front. And that’s exactly what happened,” said Robshaw.
“We’ve got to take our medicine and learn. Well done to Scotland but we’re not out of this competition and we’ll keep on fighting.
The occasion was too big for us. Scotland were too good for us. I thought we were ready to play but we weren’t.England head coach, Eddie Jones
“It’s tough because as players you want to get straight back out there and put it right. If there was a game on Monday we would want to play in that.”
Scotland fly-half Finn Russell hailed what he felt was a “world-class” team performance by the hosts.
Despite his own individual brilliance – which included an outrageous floated pass to Huw Jones in the lead up to Maitland’s try – he played down Eddie Jones’s pre-match comments that he was a world-class operator, insisting it was a team effort.
“For a No 10 to be world class you’ve got to have the boys around you that help you out,” he said.
“We had the game plan and everyone executed that, so for a No 10 that makes it easier for me running those balls out the back and you’ve got boys running off you. I couldn’t have played like I did without the boys round me giving me the support and knowing their game plan as well as I did. The team was world class, not just an individual.”