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English spirit and French flair open Six Nations

England celebrate

By Couch Potato
February 5 2012

New-look England made Scotland regret wasting huge amounts of Murrayfield possession and France showed some of their old flair as they brushed aside Italy on the first day oif the 2012 Six Nations.

Charlie Hodgson marked his return to the England fold by scoring the only try as England won in Edinburgh for the first time in eight years – the game was little better than recent yawn-fests between the two teams, but at least there was a try this time.

England’s young players were expected to face a baptism of fire, but the Scots took ages to get into anything like their stride, and when they did, they made a mess of things.

Scotland were confident before the game, and sick as parrots after it.

Coach Andy Robinson told the BBC: "We created enough chances, but we're not taking those chances. That's the nature of the sport, we've got to be able to deal with it.

"It's important that we stay together. Everybody is very frustrated by the loss.

"After half-time we had a poor bit of play and we gave England the lead. They got their heads up and they managed to win the game."

England interim coach Stuart Lancaster said: "It was a fantastic effort. I'm really chuffed for the boys.

"It is what teams are built on, spirit, and they showed a tremendous amount of spirit and courage to play for each other and play for England."

Which is more than could be said at times in New Zealand last year.

In Paris, Philippe Saint-Andre’s reign as coach started with a four-try win over Italy that avenged last season’s defeat in Rome.

He said: "It's good to win but there is a lot of room for improvement. We will have to play at another level against Ireland next week.

“On the plus side, we scored four tries, we were disciplined and we did not a concede any try. On the negative side, we should gain more possession, we lacked aggression, especially at the beginning."

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English spirit and French flair open Six Nations
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