The returning Anthony Watson set England on their way to a 33-30 win at home to Wales that keeps their Six Nations title challenge on track.

With Grand Slam contenders France not in action against Scotland until Sunday, Eddie Jones' England piled on the pressure with a hard-fought triumph at Twickenham.

The hosts were boosted by the inclusion of wing Watson in the XV for the first time in the tournament, and he got the first of three England tries.

Elliot Daly crossed later in the first half and, after Justin Tipuric raced through for Wales at the start of the second period, Manu Tuilagi secured a third win in four matches for England before being sent off with five minutes remaining. Dan Biggar and Tipuric grabbed consolation tries for Wales in the closing moments, earning them a losing bonus point.

It took Watson less than four minutes to make his mark, dancing through a pair of tackles after a smart move from a lineout on the right to score the opening points.

An eventful start continued as Jonny May departed with a head injury before a scuffle broke out in front of the England try line, prompting a penalty against Owen Farrell that Leigh Halfpenny dispatched over the posts.

Farrell and Halfpenny traded further successful trips to the kicking tee as the match settled slightly, but a spell of England pressure resulted in their second try after 32 minutes as the hosts worked the ball from right to left and Daly steamed up the outside to lunge over.

Another Farrell penalty stretched England's lead again, only for some sloppy play to allow Biggar to boot a response heading into half-time.

And Wales came out for the restart with renewed vigour, scoring inside 30 seconds through a stunning counter that sent Tipuric clear under the posts.

But England continued to forge opportunities for their kickers, with Farrell adding three more points before George Ford assumed the responsibilities - his captain struggling with a dead leg - and followed suit.

Successive scores seemed to dampen Wales' spirits, and a patient England move made space for Tuilagi to walk in on the left.

A slew of late penalties against England resulted in a yellow card for Ellis Genge, and Tuilagi departed for a shoulder charge to George North's head.

That allowed first Biggar and then Tipuric to score against 13 scrambling white shirts, but the late tries proved only enough to rescue the bonus point.


Watson wastes little time

England had been shorn of their star wing since the Rugby World Cup final, and Watson made sure to quickly show Jones just what he had been missing. His 18th international try combined skill, speed and strength in impressive fashion from the first notable attack of the match.

Captain Farrell unflappable

This was a niggly game, best evidenced by the clash Farrell became involved in early on, but England made the most of each Welsh foul. Farrell's kicking from various ranges was typically clinical, taking the match away from Wales each time they threatened a recovery.

What's next?

England must wait to learn when they might fulfil their final fixture against Italy, who have seen consecutive matches postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Wales complete their disappointing campaign at home to Scotland next Saturday.

Owen Farrell insists England's rip-roaring start in their Six Nations win over Ireland was not a response to any outside pressure.

England began their campaign with a poor showing in a defeat against France in Paris before grinding out a victory over Scotland amid tough Edinburgh conditions in round two.

Back at Twickenham against an Ireland side who had started with two wins from two, England earned a deserved 24-12 triumph over a visiting team coached by Farrell's father Andy.

Eddie Jones' men had come under scrutiny following a mixed start, while the head coach was initially questioned and subsequently vindicated for his decision to move centre Jonathan Joseph to the wing and continue with flanker Tom Curry at number eight.

"It's pressure from everybody else, not us," England captain Farrell said when asked about the outside voices.

"We're unbelievably happy with how things are in-house. We feel we are getting better and couldn't wait to play this game.

"I think you saw that from the way we started the game. It's nothing to do with anyone on the outside. We are giving ourselves lots of confidence to rip in come kick-off."

England were boosted by the return of powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi, a player Farrell feels would make a difference to any team in world rugby.

"You don't need me to tell you [how important he is]," Farrell added.

"Any team in the world would want him by your side, we're lucky to have him. He's playing brilliant rugby."

England led 17-0 at the break with George Ford and Elliot Daly the beneficiaries of some shoddy Ireland defending, while Luke Cowan-Dickie touched down from an England drive in the second half.

Part of England's success owed to their dominance of the forwards, with the returning Courtney Lawes earning the man-of-the-match award.

"We knew Ireland were on good form and we came out flying, we put an emphasis on that all week. It was great to get out here with the boys," Lawes said.

"Any chance I get to put on the shirt, especially at my old age, I relish it. We just want to keep building, the goal is to be the best team the world has ever seen."

Eddie Jones was left angry with Scotland fans after a member of his coaching team was hit by a beer bottle and Owen Farrell was booed when kicking during England's Six Nations win at Murrayfield.

Neil Craig, England's head of performance, was hit by a bottle thrown from among Scotland supporters as Jones' side entered the stadium ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash on Saturday.

There was also jeering of Farrell when he kicked for goal during England's 13-6 win, which was secured thanks to Ellis Genge's solitary try during dreadful weather conditions brought on by Storm Ciara.

It was Jones' first visit to Murrayfield since a 25-13 defeat two years ago, after which the England coach received vociferous verbal abuse outside a Manchester train station the next day.

"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."

When asked if England would consider making a formal complaint, Jones said: "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 went on to accuse the Scottish fans of lacking respect over their heckling of Farrell, who kicked eight points despite missing three penalties in the swirling wind.

"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," said Jones.

"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?"

The result was just what Rugby World Cup finalists England needed following their opening-game loss to France. 

Ellis Genge scored the only try of a scrappy battle in horrendous conditions as England regained the Calcutta Cup with a 13-6 defeat of Scotland at a sodden Murrayfield.

There was little to separate the fierce rivals on a bleak Saturday in Edinburgh, lashed by Storm Ciara, after Adam Hastings' penalty brought Scotland level following Owen Farrell's strike from the tee in the first half.

That was until replacement prop Genge touched down 10 minutes from time after England were awarded a scrum five yards from the post when Stuart Hogg was adjudged to have made downward pressure on the ball, having spilled it over his own line.

Farrell missed three penalties, with the rain teeming down and wind howling, but was successful with a second to increase his side's lead after adding the extras to Genge's try.

A second Hastings penalty reduced the deficit to seven points, but the Rugby World Cup runners-up held on to beat their old rivals the first time in three years.

England deserved to win an ugly contest after losing to France on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, while Scotland have lost two out of two - Hogg's mistake proving to be pivotal after the captain inexplicably dropped the ball when he should have scored against Ireland.

Owen Farrell said sloppy England only had themselves to blame for an error-strewn 24-17 defeat to France in their first game of the Six Nations.

France made a dream start to the Fabien Galthie era at Stade de France, though England gave them a huge helping hand on a wet Sunday in Paris.

The Rugby World Cup runners-up dominated possession and territory, but a double from new captain Charles Ollivon after Vincent Rattez's early try and nine points from the boot of Romain Ntamack put clinical Les Bleus 24-0 up.

A brace of sublime solo tries from Jonny May set the nerves jangling, yet England could only muster a bonus point courtesy of Farrell's penalty with the last kick of the game.

Fired-up France were magnificent in defence, but it might have been a different story had Eddie Jones' not been guilty of 23 handling errors and captain Farrell had no excuses for a poor start to the tournament.

"They scored tries off a couple of our mistakes, we had the ball in our own half too much, we made too many mistakes and they capitalised." he told BBC One.

"They got a foothold, we kind of paused, we had a bit more in the second half but that's not the way we want to defend.

"It's not due to mental fatigue, we were excited to get together and we have to get excited about playing Scotland next week.

"They were more aggressive from the word go, the second half was a bit better but we left ourselves with too much to do."

The Algarve: Sun, sea, sand and, if you are the England rugby squad, a chance to discuss salary caps. 

Eddie Jones - a man not known for sugar-coating his words - made clear that England's pre-Six Nations training camp in Portugal offered not just preparation time but also an opportunity to clear the air in the wake of the Saracens scandal.  

Joe Marler described the situation as the "elephant in the room", while Jones himself said the players needed to "get it out on the table" so they could all move on. The hope is voicing any grievances with what happened at the Premiership club will not allow any resentment to fester and, potentially, cause a splintering in the ranks. 

While their futures at club level remain uncertain, some of Sarries' stars will once again provide the backbone for England's push for glory in this year's championship. The one notable absentee is Billy Vunipola, once again sidelined due to a broken arm. Yet even without the number eight, hopes are rightly high for success.

They will no doubt have memories of their last outing, a painful Rugby World Cup final that did not go to plan. Having ended New Zealand's longstanding grip on the Webb Ellis Cup with a stunning semi-final win, England failed to hit the same heights in the showpiece game. In truth, they didn't even come close. 

That 32-12 loss to the Springboks in Yokohama must have hurt back in November, but - now the dust has settled and the debrief is all done - it can provide a catalyst to raise the bar, rather than the beginning of the end for the current crop.

Asked in a media conference if there was a concern over a World Cup hangover still lingering, young flanker Tom Curry offered a response that was both swift and to the point: "No".

Jones will not tolerate any self-pity either. Instead, the Australian will expect a reaction, starting with their trip to Paris on opening weekend. 

For Les Bleus, this feels like the first chapter in a new story. Head coach Fabien Galthie selected 19 uncapped players in his initial squad, suggesting he is free to shape the script going forward. 

England, however, do not have the thought of the 2023 World Cup at the forefront of their minds. Jones may not even still be in charge by then – his current deal runs until August 2021 – so his only focus is on winning now. 

Trusted lieutenants will once again will be relied upon to lead in the heat of battle, including Saracens duo Owen Farrell, who captains the team against France, and Maro Itoje. 

With Ireland and Wales – Grand Slam winners in 2018 and 2019 respectively – beginning new regimes following the departures of longstanding coaches, the familiar faces lining up in white shirts are considered favourites to reign this year. 

After so much talk around off-field issues and World Cup hangovers, the players may just be grateful just to get on with playing games.

Vunipola's absence is an obvious blow, considering his ball-carrying abilities, but there is more than enough power in the pack to cope without him. The time for talking is over; England know there are no excuses for failing to deliver a first title since 2017.

George Furbank will make his England debut in their Six Nations opener against France at full-back following an injury to Anthony Watson.

Watson was not considered for selection due to a calf issue he entered England's training camp with and Eddie Jones has given Northampton Saints back Furbank the nod.

Elliot Daly will consequently start on the left wing and Jonny May on the opposite side at the Stade de France on Sunday.

George Ford has been handed the fly-half berth with Owen Farrell named at inside centre, while Tom Curry gets the number eight spot in the absence of the injured Billy Vunipola.

Luke Cowan-Dickie was scheduled to re-join the squad in Paris on Friday after being granted leave for personal reasons and was among the replacements. Uncapped prop Will Stuart was also named on the bench.

Jones said: "It has been a massively exciting week for us. It is the start of the Six Nations, the best rugby tournament in the world. We have had a great preparation in Portugal with a quality training week this week.

"We have really worried about ourselves, getting ourselves right. We have picked a strong forward pack which is part of the England way and an exciting backline with young George Furbank playing his first Test at full-back.

"France can expect absolute brutality from England, we are going to go out there to make sure they understand what Test rugby is. It is about being brutal, it is about being physical and it is about dominating the set piece."

 

England: George Furbank, Jonny May, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Ollie Devoto, Jonathan Joseph.

England captain Owen Farrell has declared "nothing is set in stone" when it comes to his Saracens future.

After last week's dramatic announcement from Premiership Rugby that Saracens will be demoted to the Championship next season, the focus has switched to what that will mean for the club's elite players.

Years of breaching the Premiership salary cap has come back to bite Saracens, the current champions of England and Europe.

Farrell was one of seven Saracens players named in a 34-man England squad on Monday and there will be clear-the-air discussions during the team's training camp.

Rival clubs have been angered by Saracens' over-spending and England will move quickly to defuse any tensions that may exist within coach Eddie Jones' group.

Asked whether he would stay with Saracens beyond this season, Farrell said: "There's obviously ongoing chats. We have an idea of what our plan would be for the lads that are coming into camp.

"We've had a sit-down, but obviously nothing is set in stone so [I am] not in a position to talk about it, but we feel clear enough at this moment in time to get on with what's in front of us and get excited about getting to England."

Farrell was asked for his view on the punishment meted out to his club side, and told ITV Sport: "It's disappointing obviously, but as a club we've accepted the punishment and I back the club to come back from this."

England's squad were set to gather on Wednesday and Farrell, as the team's leader, will likely have a key role in making sure there are no disruptive divisions between the players given the need for unity.

Asked whether there might be issues between the Saracens contingent and players from other clubs, Farrell said: "I don't know. The best thing about this squad over the past year or so [is] we've got better at being up-front with each other.

"We've got better at being open and better at being honest, and if that's the case we'll get it out there and we'll sort it out and be able to move on.

"It'd be wrong of us not to say anything so we'll see what comes of it when we do mention it."

Farrell left no doubt he is relishing the chance to focus on England matters over the coming weeks.

After the run to the Rugby World Cup final, England will bid to dethrone Wales as Six Nations champions.

"It's massively exciting," Farrell said.

"The group that we've got is obviously a lot of people that've been together for a while now, but with some people that are hopefully going to add a lot to it.

"We want to push, we want to get better, we want to improve, and we want to see where we can take it.

"We've got to work hard and that'll be what we do now when we meet up."

Saracens' troubles will not make facing England in the Six Nations any easier, according to France captain Charles Ollivon.

France kick-start their Six Nations campaign against the Rugby World Cup finalists on February 2 at the Stade de France.

Six players who appeared in England's defeat to South Africa in Japan play for Premiership champions Saracens, who will be relegated at the end of the season due to a breach of salary cap rules.

Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola – who will miss the Six Nations due to a broken arm – and captain Owen Farrell are all regulars under Eddie Jones, yet Ollivon is not expecting any uncertainty over their club futures to impact their performances for England.

"You have to remember that England is the second-best team in the world, so I'm not sure whether it is the best time to play against them or not," Ollivon, who has been appointed as France captain for the tournament, told reporters.

"In any case, for us it will be our first game and we want to be able to perform. We want to be there and meet the expectations and get started with the championship.

"We have been preparing for it since the end of the World Cup so we're eager to get on with it."

France's initial 42-man squad includes 19 uncapped players, with coach Fabien Galthie already casting an eye to the 2023 World Cup, which will take place on home soil.

"It's a young team both in terms of age and caps," Galthie said.

"We have a two-fold vision, we have a four-year vision and then we have a shorter-term vision with the England squad for February 2.

"It's a squad that we'll have to quickly gear up to be able to perform and also to be able to raise the bar and the standards."

Mark McCall has made it clear he intends to remain with Saracens following their relegation, but the director of rugby acknowledges the future of his club's biggest stars may be influenced by England head coach Eddie Jones.

A Premiership Rugby statement on Saturday confirmed Sarries will be demoted from the top flight at the end of the 2019-20 season, following multiple breaches of the competition's salary cap.

Six members of the England team that started last year's World Cup final play for European champions, including captain Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola, with significant uncertainty now surrounding their futures.

The London club will not be eligible to play in next term's Champions Cup once they are in the second tier of English rugby, meaning the likes of Farrell and Itoje face a year away from elite club competitions should they stay put.

In an interview with BT Sport ahead of his team's crunch clash with Racing 92 on Sunday, McCall said: "Obviously the news has just come in the last 48 hours, so there's a lot of thinking for us to do and a lot of decisions to make.

"And every player's situation is slightly different - what happens to our established internationals? What does Eddie Jones want to happen to our established internationals, et cetera. et cetera.

"But those decisions and those conversations I think are for another day. Today we just try and get on with the rugby."

Asked about his own future, McCall added: "The one thing now, it feels like there's a line drawn in the sand. We have some real clarity around the future and we can plan for that future and I really want to be part of that.

"I don't think this is the best time to be pointing fingers or trying to apportion blame. This is a time for unity and togetherness. We've got this remarkable playing group who over the last 10 weeks have shown, I think, an incredible amount of resilience given all of the stuff that's been going on off the field."

Saracens are facing up to a potential player exodus after the worst-kept secret in the Premiership was confirmed with the announcement the London club are to be relegated for breaching salary-cap regulations.

The London club were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for flouting the rules in each of the past three seasons, and currently sit bottom of the Premiership.

However, after talks between Premiership Rugby and Saracens in the aftermath of the initial punishment, the club will now drop down to the Championship for 2020-21.

It throws up huge doubts over the future of some of the Premiership's biggest names, who have all tasted success with Saracens over the club's recent period of dominance – including a domestic and European double last term.

Six Saracens players started in England's Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa - including captain Owen Farrell - while Vincent Koch featured for the Springboks in that match.

Meanwhile, Liam Williams, a regular for Wales in the tournament, has already started the departures, having agreed to rejoin Scarlets at the end of the season.

Following the news of Saracens' impending relegation to the second tier, we take a look at the star names who seem destined to become available.

Owen Farrell

Sure to be in demand is England skipper Farrell has spent his entire senior career with Saracens, having made his debut aged 17 in 2008, becoming - at the time - the youngest player to appear in an English professional rugby union match. He has gone on to become one of the world's best players, winning the Six Nations twice with England as well as five Premiership titles and three Champions Cups with Saracens.

Maro Itoje

Having won four Premierships and three European Champions Cups at club level by the age of 25, Maro Itoje is expected to be a man in demand. The British and Irish Lion, who plays lock or blindside flanker, should still have his best years ahead of him but is already an established international player, having won two Six Nations trophies and helped England to the World Cup final last year as part of his 34 caps. He has spent his whole professional career at Saracens.

Mako Vunipola

The elder Vunipola brother joined up with Saracens from Bristol in 2011 and has made 110 appearances, scoring 15 tries. He made his England debut in 2012 against Fiji and has been a key player for club and country ever since. 

Billy Vunipola

Two years after his sibling had signed for Saracens, Billy Vunipola followed suit. He has played in 71 Premiership matches for Sarries, with 15 tries to his name and has featured in just 11 defeats. Internationally, he has made 51 Test appearances for England.

Elliot Daly

The versatile back - who has featured in 42 Tests for England - only joined Saracens from Wasps in 2019 ahead of the current Premiership season. He has scored 13 tries for England and one in four Premiership appearances so far for Saracens.

Jamie George

Like Farrell, George came through the ranks at Saracens and made his first-team debut just a year after the England captain. He has made over 150 Premiership appearances for the club, starting 83 times and accumulating 125 points from 25 tries. At 29, it seems unlikely the hooker will be wishing to drop into the Championship.

Vincent Koch

Signed in 2016, Koch has scored three top-flight tries during his time with Saracens, making 48 Premiership appearances in total. The prop did not start for South Africa in November's World Cup showdown in Japan, though came on early in the second half to help the Springboks to a 32-12 victory.

Will Skelton

Former Australia lock Skelton was linked with a move back to the southern hemisphere last year before signing a new deal. He has scored three tries for Saracens since joining, and made 18 Test appearances for the Wallabies between 2014 and 2016.

England captain Owen Farrell starred for Saracens as the Premiership champions defeated Bath 25-12 in their first league match since accepting a 35-point punishment.

Saracens initially questioned the £5.36million fine and large points deduction which was handed to them earlier in November as a penalty for breaching salary-cap rules.

However, the defending Premiership and European champions have since accepted the sanction, meaning they dropped to the bottom of the standings.

Farrell led the way as Mark McCall's side made it three successive wins, kicking 20 points in a convincing victory over eighth-placed Bath.

Three penalties from Rhys Priestland had given Bath the edge early on, but Sean Maitland's try and 11 points from Farrell put the away side in control by the break.

Farrell added a further nine points after the restart to wrap up the win, though Maro Itoje was sent to the sin bin late on.

Saracens' win puts McCall's team 22 points behind 11th-placed Leicester Tigers.

Eddie Jones conceded England may have been suffering a hangover from their stunning Rugby World Cup triumph over New Zealand as they slumped to a lacklustre defeat in the final.

South Africa were underdogs in Yokohama on Saturday but emerged as dominant 32-12 winners against an England side who had comfortably seen off the All Blacks in the semi-final.

Wales coach Warren Gatland, whose team were beaten 19-16 by the Springboks in their last-four meeting, had sounded a warning to England when he suggested they may have peaked too soon in that win over the reigning champions.

And Jones was not able to dismiss that notion as he gathered his thoughts after a chastening loss in Japan.

"That could be a factor, I'm not sure," he said. "I don't know why we didn't play well and this is one of those things that happens in high-level rugby.

"We thought our preparation was good, but at the end of the day it wasn't, because we didn't play well.

"You can have the most investigative debrief of your game and you still don't know what was wrong.

"It's not a good day for it to happen, we're going to be kicking stones now for four years and it's hard to kick stones for four years, so we're massively disappointed, but at the same time I've got great admiration for what the players did.

"I can't tell you how much respect I've got for how hard they've worked, how well they've played. We came up short, but it's not because of a lack of effort."

Jones was pressed on how England's efforts at the tournament should be remembered and, while he admitted they had come up short of their ultimate goal, he was looking forward to drowning his sorrows with his players over the coming days.

"We are the second best team in the world," he said. "We didn't meet our goal, our goal was to be the best team in the world, but we are the second best team in the world, so I think that's how we should be remembered.

"The only thing we are worried about now is having a few beers and after we've had a few beers today, we'll probably have a few more tomorrow and then probably Monday and then probably we'll have to pull up stumps."

Eddie Jones said England were simply not good enough and had been beaten by the better side after South Africa won the Rugby World Cup with a dominant 32-12 victory.

Handre Pollard booted 22 points, while tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe gave the Springboks breathing space as they lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a record-equalling third time.

England were overpowered by Rassie Erasmus' ferocious side in Yokohama on Saturday after suffering the early blow of losing prop Kyle Sinckler due to concussion.

Four penalties from Owen Farrell kept England in touch, but they were second best from the start and head coach Jones admitted they had fallen short.

"We just struggled to get in the game. The effort of the players was outstanding but we struggled to get on the front foot." said the Australian.

"I can't fault the preparation of the players, they've worked hard the entire World Cup and I think they've played with a lot of pride and passion.

"We just weren't good enough today and congratulations to South Africa on an outstanding performance."

Captain Farrell feels England made great strides in Japan despite the agony of missing out on being crowned world champions for a second time.

"We didn't start it [the game] well. We probably had a disappointing first half, but I'm proud of this group, I'm proud of what we've done, how far we've come over the course of this tournament." the skipper said.

"It showed with the fight that we had in the second half, but credit to South Africa, they were very good today."

Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe kicked England when they were down and Handre Pollard scored 22 points as magnificent South Africa won the Rugby World Cup final with a 32-12 victory.

The Springboks overpowered the favourites at International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday to match the mark of three World Cup wins by New Zealand.

South Africa dominated the set-piece in a brutal and relentless performance, with England unable to get going after suffering an early blow when Kyle Sinckler departed with concussion.

Pollard produced a masterclass from the tee, while Mapimpi and Kolbe crossed in the second half as South Africa became the first team to be crowned Southern Hemisphere and world champions in the same year.

Four Owen Farrell penalties were all England could muster as South Africa defended magnificently, enabling Siya Kolisi to become the first black captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

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