Eddie Jones has lashed out at Scotland supporters for being disrespectful after England’s head of performance, Neil Craig, was struck on the head by a beer bottle and Owen Farrell was repeatedly booed when kicking at goal.
Craig was hit as England arrived at Murrayfield before their 13-6 victory. It is understood the Scottish Rugby Union apologised to the England management before kick-off. Jones was far from impressed, however, and equally incensed the crowd did not stay silent when Farrell was taking his kicks, as tradition dictates. He missed three penalties but scored eight points as England got their Six Nations back on track and England clinched the Calcutta Cup for the first time in three years.
“We weren’t expecting beer bottles to be thrown, that’s a new trick,” Jones said. “It’s a pretty good achievement, throwing beer bottles, you’ve got to be brave to throw a beer bottle. Neil has a hard head, I know that, and there’s not much inside it. He will be all right.”
Asked if England would be making a formal complaint, Jones added: “It’s not going to do anything is it. Everybody knows about it, so someone can do something about it. It’s not good behaviour, is it.”
Jones has history with Scotland supporters having been vociferously booed during England’s defeat at Murrayfield two years ago. He travelled by train the following day and was involved in an incident outside a Manchester station in which he was repeatedly sworn at.
Asked about the crowd booing Farrell, Jones said: “Rugby did have a culture of respect and if there is a new level of respect in Scotland then we have to put up with it. Obviously they think there is. If that’s how the Scottish fans will be respectful then we have to acknowledge it and get on with it. It was an old-fashioned Calcutta Cup game with swirling wind and an aggressive crowd without manners – I thought you were supposed to show kickers respect?”
Victory over Scotland was a first win for England since the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand and keeps their championship hopes alive with Ireland, who have won both their matches so far, next up at Twickenham later this month.
Ellis Genge, England’s tryscorer, believes his side had come in for undue criticism after the defeat by France, with the 2003 World Cup winner Kyran Bracken calling for Jones to be sacked.
Genge, however, considered Saturday’s victory an emphatic response. “A lot of sausages have been saying whatever comes into their heads. There was a bump in the road and suddenly the coach [Eddie Jones] should be sacked and the team can’t play rugby. What are they saying? I think we shut the critics up today and I hope they were watching that. We’re buzzing and there’s more to come, that’s what’s exciting.” Of his try he added: “It was a blur, I just picked it up ... it’s just timing isn’t it?”.
Jones described Genge as a “project player who has developed so much and is so important now.” He added: “Apart from 15 minutes we dominated the game. We had a few poor kicks but we dominated possession and finished it off, which we didn’t do last week.”
Farrell was delighted with his side’s attitude. “We’re happy with the performance more than anything. To come up here on a day like this, with a brilliant atmosphere, it made it tough for a game of rugby but I thought we stuck at it constantly for 80 minutes. It didn’t all go our way, we made it difficult for ourselves at times but our attitude was spot-on I thought. We wanted to be better, we were very disappointed last weekend.”
Gregor Townsend was proud of Scotland’s performances despite the defeats to Ireland and England. “We thought we could still win at 3-3 and I thought the way we played in the second half was excellent given the conditions,” the Scotland coach said.
“To show what we did for the first 15 minutes, to force errors and penalties was good. It was just that five-minute period that England got into our 22 that we have to remedy.
“In those conditions, you are often better off not having the ball. We haven’t had a game in the rain for years and it’s hard for players. These are international-class players and it shows how hard it is to play in these conditions.”
Stuart Hogg made no excuses. “It was really tough out there. The wind and the rain, it wasn’t ideal conditions,” the Scotland captain said. “But we had to adapt. Sometimes we did. Sometimes we struggled. But credit to England, they executed their kicking game very well.”