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Scotland (6) 9
Penalties: Laidlaw 3
England (7) 15
Tries: Kruis, Nowell
Eddie Jones' tenure as England coach began in victorious fashion as his side retained the Calcutta Cup with a hard-fourth victory in the Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield. George Kruis and Jack Nowell scored tries in either half to see off Vern Cotter's team, who were unable to recapture the momentum from their World Cup campaign.
In a game lacking cohesiveness from the outset, Kruis' first international score had England one-point ahead at the break and as Scotland faded in the second half a nicely worked try involving replacement Mako Vunipola set Nowell free to extend their lead beyond the visitors' reach. Defeat, despite Greig Laidlaw's three penalties, sees Scotland lose their opening championship match for the 16th time in the 17 years of the six-nation format.
Victory for England meanwhile gives Jones the perfect start to the reign at the helm though ill-discipline and decision-making errors mean there is much to work on in the week leading up to their second match against Italy in Rome on Valentines Day. Scotland meanwhile travel to Wales next weekend.
The oldest rivalry in international rugby had perhaps never been more intriging with Scotland and England approaching their 134th meeting in vastly contrasting shape. The hosts were riding on a new wave of optimism following the World Cup while a new-look England - led by Dylan Hartley - were looking to find their feet under Jones.
The Australian had preached evolution rather than revolution since succeeding Stuart Lancaster, and that mantra was reflected in his first starting fifteen, with none of the seven uncapped players called into the initial tournament squad involved. Former captain Chris Robshaw was moved to the blindside as Danny Care won selection the battle at scrum-half over Ben Youngs.
While England were seeking change, Scotland wanted to maintain the momentum which saw them go within seconds of a first World Cup semi-final since 1991 last October. Vern Cotter's side showed enterprise during their campaign last autumn but had to prove they had conquered the mental scars from their harrowing loss to Australia.
But starved of possession in the opening exchanges Scotland's momentum was stifled and allowed England an early foothold in the match. Jones had demanded the rebirth of a powerful English pack and that was exactly what he got as Kruis dived through after the forwards had made the hard yards.
The home side reduced the arears with their first bout of possession through Laidlaw's penalty and a second came shortly before the half hour mark as Scotland's kicking game came to the fore. Tommy Seymour chased down his own kick which George Ford clung onto, and though Laidlaw was unable to take advantage from the floor the phase of play represented a signal of arial intent.
As the first half wore each side were both ambitious with the ball in hand, yet frivolous in possession leading to multiple turnovers from a deluge of errors and miss-placed kicks. Attacking opportunities were few and far between but by the end of the 40 minutes Scotland had readdressed England's pack dominance and only Matt Scott's knock-on after a driving maul prevented them going in at half time in front. Laidlaw's second penalty did however reduce the deficit to one.
Scotland began the second half the better but it would be England who would turn their pressure into points as replacement Mako Vunipola's decisive offload allowed Jack Nowell to spring free. The Exeter wing ran the perfect line from off his wing to go over in the corner for his eighth international try.
Owen Farrell passed up the opportunity to put England nine points ahead but as Scotland collapsed another maul the Saracens man did extend the lead to leave Scotland facing an uphill battle with a quarter of an hour remaining. Laidlaw did cut the advantage to six with a penalty from under the posts, but fresh impetus from the bench including a debut for Jack Clifford, coupled with an inspird showing from Billy Vunipola allowed England to ease their way to victory.
Scotland: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Tommy Seymour, 10. Finn Russell, 9. Greig Laidlaw, 1. Al Dickinson, 2. Ross Ford, 3. WP Nel, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. John Barclay, 7. John Hardie, 8. David Denton.
Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally, 17. Gordon Reid, 18. Zander Fagerson, 19. Tim Swinson, 20. Blair Cowan, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Duncan Taylor.
England: 15. Mike Brown, 14. Anthony Watson, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Owen Farrell, 11. Jack Nowell, 10. George Ford, 9. Danny Care, 1. Joe Marler, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. George Kruis, 6. Chris Robshaw, 7. James Haskell, 8. Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: 16. Jamie George, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Paul Hill, 19. Courtney Lawes, 20. Jack Clifford, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Alex Goode, 23. Ollie Devoto.