England begin Jones era with victory as France beat Italy

The England players at the end of the Six Nations tournament match against Scotland, at Murrayfield, yesterday.

The England players at the end of the Six Nations tournament match against Scotland, at Murrayfield, yesterday.

England got the Eddie Jones era off to a victorious, if not quite glorious, start yesterday as tries by George Kruis and Jack Nowell earned them a 15-9 victory over Scotland in a nervy Six Nations clash at Murrayfield.

Jones, who took over from Stuart Lancaster in the wake of England’s World Cup pool-stage exit, had made it clear he wanted a win at any cost and will have enjoyed seeing his forwards gradually wrestle control and finish in command of a scrappy but typically intense Calcutta Cup encounter.

Scotland went into the game on something of a high after their impressive World Cup campaign but, having lost all five Six Nations matches last year, will be hugely frustrated that, for all their effort, they never looked likely to fashion a try and had only three Greig Laidlaw penalties to their name.

“In all honesty, I always thought we were going to win the game,” Jones told the BBC.

“The only way we weren’t was if we did something silly, and in the second half I thought we showed composure under pressure.

“We wanted to move the ball more... and we weren’t able to do it, so we had to play a different way and that is pragmatic football.”

Earlier in Paris, Virimi Vakatawa and Jules Plisson shone in a new-look France team who secured a hard-fought 23-21 victory over Italy in their tournament opener.

Coach Guy Noves made a winning start as sevens stalwart Vaka-tawa, who had not played 15-man rugby in more than two years, scored the first try from the wing.

Damien Chouly and Hugo Bonneval also crossed the line and flyhalf Plisson kicked a conversion and two penalties.

Italy responded with tries by Sergio Parisse and Carlo Canna, who also added a drop goal, a penalty and a conversion. Kelly Haimona kicked a penalty.

The Stade de France was under tight security as the gates opened for the first time since last November’s Paris attacks when assaults on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and outside the stadium killed 130 people.

French President Francois Hollande attended the game.

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