Scotland’s wait to regain the Calcutta Cup goes on after England opened the Eddie Jones era with victory at Murrayfield.
Four months on from a disastrous World Cup campaign on home soil, England established an early lead through George Kruis’ converted try, but were then pegged back by the boot of Greig Laidlaw to make it 7-6 at half-time.
But after the hosts failed to capitalise on several promising openings, English strength from the bench helped establish a grip on what had been a messy affair.
Jack Nowell finished off a well-worked try and Owen Farrell landed his second penalty, and with their forwards increasingly in control, England closed the game out in comfort.
Scotland were left disappointed once again after just eight wins in nine Six Nations campaigns.
But a third successive win at Murrayfield for the men in white means Jones – who has had just seven training sessions with his new charges and had picked a team for a rumble rather than a revolution – has time to stamp his own mark on England.
Kruis missile dents Scotland’s hopes
England dominated the early territory and had their first try of the Jones era when Kruis rumbled through weak Scottish tackling to crash over from four metres out.
Laidlaw landed a fine penalty and as both sides attacked from deep and wide, the match quickly became frantic and error-ridden.
England were shipping penalties at a rate – eight in the first period alone – and with George Ford struggling at fly-half, Scotland gained a foothold in the game.
Laidlaw missed from out wide but made it 7-6 from 20m out after England were burgled at the breakdown, and had Russell not rushed a straightforward drop-goal attempt the home side would have led at the break.
English replacements the difference
Scotland came again, setting up a series of drives deep in English territory only for errors to leave them without reward.
Jones threw on Courtney Lawes for Joe Launchbury and Mako Vunipola for Joe Marler, and as England’s ball-carriers made dents, quick ball came and the points with it.
George Ford went right, prop Vunipola hit Farrell with a cute inside pass and Nowell scampered into the corner for 12-6.
Farrell kicked a penalty to the corner and England drove the line-out, hammering away at the line until Russell intercepted and almost sent Stuart Hogg away.
Farrell then stroked over a penalty from distance, only for Scotland to haul themselves to within a converted try through Laidlaw’s third penalty.
But England’s power from the bench snuffed out any sparks, and they will head to Rome next week with some confidence restored.
England’s go-to man so often, Billy Vunipola consistently made the sort of hard yards that gave England critical momentum.
Scotland: 15-Stuart Hogg; 14-Sean Maitland, 13-Mark Bennett, 12-Matt Scott, 11-Tommy Seymour; 10-Finn Russell, 9-Greig Laidlaw (captain); 1-Alasdair 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 (captain), 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