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Six Nations Watch: Round One

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    06 Feb 2017     Getty Images

It was the opening week of the Six Nations tournament and provided the latest opportunity to assess contenders for the 2017 DHL New Zealand Lions Series.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said Ireland were 15 minutes late in getting to Murrayfield and played poorly in their first half as a consequence, eventually going down 22-27.

"We were sluggish, we got some really good field position in the first half and didn't convert. That was frustrating.

"They got too much room to move, we were sluggish to close that space down and missed a few tackles," he said.

The side had fought back in the second half but it was too little, too late, he said. The side's title hopes had taken a blow.

Scotland's captain Greig Laidlaw said his side knew what plays to go to in tight games.

"It's the way we're coached during the week through Vern [Cotter] and the other coaches, we know how to build pressure on teams, gather field position and that's why we won.

"It was so pleasing to come back and close it out. We just don't want to be getting beaten anymore, so it was so pleasing to get this over the line," he said.

Cotter said: "What was nice was stopping them scoring tries a metre from the line, total commitment, scramble defence and then being able to get a grip of the game in the last 10 minutes."

It changed the dynamic of the Six Nations by starting with a win, he said.

Jones said he got England's preparation wrong ahead of their 19-16 win over France.

"It's always good to win when you do not play well, and we did not play well," he said.

"I did not prepare the team well enough. I got some things wrong and I have got a lot of homework to do over the weekend. I will make sure the team plays much better against Wales.

"I thought we were awful, but I thought we were always going to win the game, and that is what I like about these boys. They have got a never-say-die attitude.

"We have got a very strong bench and the fact we have four of our top-class forwards out and we can still bring on a bench that makes a difference is a great testament to the depth of the squad," he said.

Welsh coach Rob Howley said, "You've got to praise our guys, I thought our discipline was absolutely fantastic. We didn't give away any easy penalties.

"I thought Sam Warburton was outstanding. He ball carried well and his pressure over the ball and having two sevens, the ability on the park to make better decisions when we haven't got the ball certainly benefitted us throughout the first half in particular.

"I was delighted with the balance in the back row and with their discipline because ultimately discipline in international rugby is what wins you games," he said.

At the weekend Wales will play England, Italy play Ireland and France play Scotland.