England men’s head coach Steve Borthwick says he is disappointed with their loss to Scotland, despite seeing positive growth.

Duhan van der Merwe’s 76th-minute try handed the Scots a six-point lead, and despite a late charge from the hosts, Gregor Townsend’s men held on to claim their third win in a row over England.

“Clearly, we are disappointed with the result,” said Borthwick. “We played a Scotland team that have controlled this fixture in recent years and I think they played well today, they didn’t get a lot of chances, but the ones they did get they took ruthlessly.

“From our perspective we saw some growth, especially the attacking side of the game, our team looked like they had points in them and try-scoring potential.”

Huw Jones scored Scotland’s first try, and a superb solo effort from van der Merwe 15 minutes later forced England to grapple their way back into the Test match, which they did. 

Two Max Malins tries and an Owen Farrell penalty saw them take a one-point lead into the break.

“We were hit by a couple of scores from nowhere in that first half and I thought the team responded incredibly well,” added Borthwick.

“If you rewind a little bit, the team doesn’t react the way they did today, so to go in at half time in the position we were, I give immense credit to the players.

“But 20-12 up and in control of the game we shouldn’t be letting that game away from us and we did. This is part of the growth of our team.”

Borthwick says his side will be better this Sunday (February 12) when they host Italy at Twickenham  (ko 3pm) in the second round of the competition, and acknowledges building this new England team will take time.

“You don’t want them to be there, but there are going to be mistakes when you are trying to build a team and implement new systems,” he said. 

“We’re trying to implement new systems into so many different places, and we have a new scrum, forwards, attack, defence, and head coach.

“We need to develop a team that delivers.”

* Ross RFC’s game away to Old Centralians 2nds on Saturday was awarded to the Wyesiders without a boot being laced after the hosts called the game off.

Newent Ist XV travelled to Winscombe and secured a hard-fought 6-3 win.

This Saturday (February 11), Ross are due to hosts Smiths, while Newent host Chippenham, kick-off 2.30pm.