England head coach Steve Borthwick believes his team must do better as England lost 23-29 to Scotland at Twickenham to open the 2023 Six Nations.
The hosts led by a single point with minutes left before Duhan van der Merwe scored his second try to secure a third straight Calcutta Cup for the visitors.
Borthwick saw an improved side compared to the one against South Africa in November but was frustrated at letting a second half lead slip.
“We got ourselves in a position when we should have won the Test match in the second half,” he said. “Really good teams would go on and win that.”
Despite only spending 11 days in a camp, Borthwick’s XV showed promise in attacking play, with the former Leicester Tigers head coach pointing to the scrum and ruck speeds as areas of note.
Borthwick praised the original response to falling behind early on, something he noticed from past performances.
He said: “I’d seen a habit within the team of conceding points early and not being able to respond to it.
“We conceded points against Scotland and the biggest thing I was looking at was the response. I thought the response was magnificent.”
Max Malins canceled out Huw Jones’s opening score when Van der Merwe produced a slicing run through the England defence for the highlight-reels to put the Scots up 12-6.
Yet it was England who led at the stroke of half-time thanks to a second Malins try and a penalty conversion by captain Owen Farrell to end the opening 40 at 13-12.
England’s 2022 scrum troubles looked non-existent as the Red and Whites powered their way to an eight point lead courtesy of Ellis Genge.
From then onwards, Scotland seized control of the match as Ben White’s try and penalty conversions by both sides from Farrell and Finn Russell left the balance in England’s half by a solitary point.
Van der Merwe proved to be the decider again as Scotland worked the ball to the #11 wing on the left to will the ball over the line for the winning score in the 75th minute.
A final conversion by Russell sealed the win and condemned England to a fourth straight opening match loss in the Six Nations.
Scotland have won three in a row against England in the Six Nations, for the first time since 1970-72.
The result puts England fifth in the table with a single point, only ahead of Wales, while trailing fellow single-pointer Italy on point difference.
Next week’s match pits England against the Azzurri in a tricky match at Twickenham though England remain favourites.
Borthwick said: “We are trying to build some strengths in this team and some bits we are pleased about and some bits we are disappointed about.
“My job is to make sure we get some improvements for Italy.”