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The honeymoon period is over for Steve Borthwick after Calcutta Cup defeat but there were many positives and a few negatives to take from England’s display.
There is still a fear factor in the England players, a legacy of the Eddie Jones era that will take time for Borthwick to eradicate. England were programmed under Jones to minimise risk in their own half. That meant box kicking too often and kicking the ball away.
England wouldn’t have dreamt of running the ball from their own 22 as Scotland did several times. The change to a more attacking approach won’t happen overnight, but it must take place.
It’s not all doom and gloom for England. Far from it, in fact. Let’s look at the positives first.
It was a phenomenal match which everyone clearly enjoyed. In Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Ollie Chessum and Max Malins, England had four players who produced exceptional performances.
There are a lot of issues which England coach Steve Borthwick will have to deal with
Props Genge and Sinckler were both good at the scrum but superb around the field. Second-row Chessum is still relatively new on the international scene but delivered a big statement.
Malins was outstanding in all areas and his two tries were the icing on the cake. There were three in total from England. When you score that many in a Test, you expect to win.
England’s defence let them down but that was largely down to some aimless kicking, unforgivable missed tackles, and being too loose around the fringes. Defence coach Kevin Sinfield will be under no illusions about the task in front of him.
In terms of attack, England can be pleased on the whole. Marcus Smith’s cross-field kick-pass completed by a highly skilful catch by Malins was out-of-your-seat stuff. It came after 14 phases of possession, with the ball getting quicker and quicker at each ruck. It was superb to watch and must have been great to be a part of for the players.
It is clear the combination between Owen Farrell (L) and Marcus Smith (R) doesn't work
When England play like that, no side in the world can live with them. I hope we see more of that in the rest of this Six Nations. Genge’s try was also fantastic.
Nick Evans has only been working with England’s attack for two weeks or so, but he has already shown the impact he can have. England scored some nice tries and did well in some aspects.
But in others, the team didn’t hit the same high notes.
England created opportunities, but the partnership between Smith and Owen Farrell is just not working. I understand why they were picked as the 10-12 combination for this game because England lost three centres to injury.
But I think if that hadn’t happened, Borthwick would have gone for Farrell as the starting fly-half.
Scotland ran rings around England at 10, 12 and 13. Their centres Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones were outstanding and played outside a world-class talent in Finn Russell.
England weren’t at that level in midfield. It was almost like watching Premiership backs against some from the Championship. Evans and Smith are close because of their Harlequins connection, but I think England have now got to choose one or the other when it comes to him or Farrell.
Farrell is a world class No 10 but he isn't able to reach those heights as an inside centre
I feel sorry for Farrell. He really is a