Six Nations 2021: Townsend hails Scotland togetherness as Jones accepts responsibility

By Peter Hanson 7 February 2021 17
Six Nations 2021: Townsend hails Scotland togetherness as Jones accepts responsibility

Gregor Townsend praised the "calmness" and "togetherness" that saw Scotland end 38-years of Twickenham hurt, as Eddie Jones took responsibility for England's Calcutta Cup defeat.

Defending Six Nations champions England were caught cold by a dominant Scotland showing at an empty Twickenham, a venue where the visitors had not beaten their rivals since 1983.

Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell were influential in a game marking the 150th anniversary of this fixture, while rookie Cameron Redpath impressed and Duhan van der Merwe scored the game's only try in an 11-6 win.

Reflecting on a famous victory with ITV Sport, Scotland coach Townsend said: "I think there was just a calmness about how we played, a togetherness and an effort level that was superb. 

"We had a really good feeling with the way we trained and bonded. But you never know, it's the first game of the championship, there were a few who had their first game for a while or debuts. It was above expectations but what a start to the championship.

"It's impressive, to win here is very tough. Our line-out was superb, we really respect England's set-piece, their line-out has been outstanding the last couple of years.

"We put pressure on lines-outs, the scrums were good – then we were accurate in attack. It's difficult in these conditions to go wide, which we did. The kicking was excellent and so was the players' leadership – you could hear them in this empty stadium."

Captain Hogg revelled in the win but insisted the focus quickly turns to next week's home clash against Wales.

"It's amazing for us, I think we can't control what happened in the past that's gone, we can control what happens in the future," Hogg said, 

"We were a credit to a man, credit to England they provided a tough challenge. We stood up to it.

"We got excited during the week, we knew we could come down here and put in a performance. We looked after the ball in attack, went for multi-phase and caused England problems. We'll enjoy this one then it's onto Wales."

England also lost their 2020 Six Nations opener to France but rebounded to win a championship delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The hosts were left lacking in both the possession stats and penalty counts, and head coach Jones said the buck lies with him.

"Firstly congratulations to Scotland, they played very well, played with a lot intent and a lot of spirt, we just had one of those days, maybe I didn't prepare the team right, we were a long way from our best," Jones said.

"You just have days like that. It's my responsibility, every time a team goes on the pitch it's a head coach's responsibility."

England's midfield pairing of Henry Slade and rookie Ollie Lawrence struggled to get into the game but Jones had a simple reason to explain that.
"You've just got to look at the possession stats, they had 75 per cent possession, a penalty count of 10 to one. That's why the centres didn't touch the ball, it's the basics of rugby," he added.

"It is what it is, we get the players, we accept responsibility for the players, I accept responsibility for not getting players ready for this game."

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Peter Hanson

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