Steve Borthwick left frustrated after ‘big learning experience’ in England’s loss to Scotland

David Skippers
Theo Dan England v Scotland SN 2024 - Alamy.jpg

England's players are dejected after their Six Nations loss to Scotland at Murrayfield.

England head coach Steve Borthwick was left frustrated as he believes his team were taught “a real painful lesson” en route to to their fourth consecutive Calcutta Cup defeat against Scotland on Saturday.

The Red Rose headed into their clash with the ‘Auld Enemy’ in a confident mood as they were one of two unbeaten teams left in the Six Nations – along with defending champions Ireland – but despite racing into a 10-0 lead, after an early converted try from George Furbank and a George Ford penalty, they soon lost their way as Scotland took control of proceedings.

Scotland eventually sealed a deserved 30-21 victory with star wing Duhan van der Merwe leading the way with a hat-trick of tries.

Left disappointed

“After a defeat and performance when you don’t think you’ve maximised your potential, it’s always disappointment,” said Borthwick.

“I don’t think the team maximised their potential today.

“When you make that number of handling errors at this level, it’s very difficult to win, especially against a team of Scotland’s quality.

“Ultimately we made it too easy for Scotland to score, but they were very clinical.

“It’s a huge lesson for our team as we develop. The number of turnovers made it very difficult to win.”

After an impressive Rugby World Cup campaign – which they finished as bronze medal winners – and with a record of one defeat in nine matches, England arrived at Murrayfield in a confident mood.

They received a reality check, however, against opponents who are a more established team under their head coach, Gregor Townsend.

“We’d all love progression to be a nice linear path but ultimately it’s not, especially when you are trying to do it at this level,” said Borthwick.

“What you saw is a team that is trying to develop, a team that is trying to add layers to their game.

“We made errors today and got punished – sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don’t. Against a team like Scotland, you don’t.

‘A real painful lesson’

“It’s a big learning experience, it’s a real painful lesson against a Scotland team that’s been together a long time. They had a lot of experience.

“I think that’s the first time our 10, 12 and 13 had started together and it looked like that, didn’t it? There was a lack of cohesion and too many fundamental errors.”

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